Writer and Journalist, Mr. Steven Brill
Storytellers seem to be making a comeback. Steven Brill, a graduate of Yale College (English major) and Yale Law School is “bringing sexy back” to storytelling.
In his most recent writing in the Huffington Post, he aspires:
“To tell that story in a way that is digestible but complete, The Huffington Post Highline and I are trying something new: a DocuSerial. It’s a reconstruction of an old story-telling genre that allows us to deploy the modern tools of digital communication to engage readers in old-fashioned, long-form feature journalism.”
Applause, golf clap, jazz clap – I am definitely on board with this retro trend.
In his first “DocuSerial,” Brill puts Johnson & Johnson under a powerful microscope, exploring their exploits from all angles. He has officially dubbed #JnJ as “America’s Most Loved Lawbreaker” in his accessible, well-researched piece of the same name, here. Today, he published the first of 15 chapters about Johnson & Johnson and the rollercoaster story of its profitable, yet deeply deceptively marketed, ill-fated drug, Risperdal, a drug which has had life-changing consequences for many people, mostly children and the elderly. See my blog about how exploitation of the weakest among us is as old as time, “Sunday Reflections, August 8.”
I strongly suggest you read Brill’s 15-chapter “DocuSerial” in its entirety, as my blog is an interpretation of his very well-organized story form, complete with graphics and a timeline, of the unfolding of the Risperdal catastrophe and its representation as just ONE DRUG that Johnson & Johnson has marketed illegally, to the peril and suffering of many innocents. I will implore him (and implore you to implore him) to write a similar DocuSerial about transvaginal mesh and hernia mesh. Read about Brill’s Docuserial from another point of view, that of Melayna Lokowsky, a #JnJ whistleblower who writes a blog called Killing My Career, to teach readers how sociopaths rise to the top of corporations and then employ what she calls, “The Sociopathic Business Model™.” Learn as much as you can NOT about the “Why?” or the “Why me?” for there is only one answer to those questions, and it is a bitter pill to swallow. The answer to “Why Me?” is because we live in a broken world, full of greed and the love of money. When you begin to ask the question, “How?” only then will you begin a journey of finding concrete answers that will help you fight YOUR fight.
Brill begins with a reminder to us, his dear reader, that #JnJ’s Credo, in place since the reign of the company’s first-line heir, Robert Wood Johnson II is:
“We believe our first responsibility is to the doctors, nurses, and patients, to mothers and fathers, and all others who use our products and services.”
Do you believe that? I sure don’t. “To mothers and fathers. . .” seriously? It’s farcical at best. At worst, the credo mocks, taunts and haunts those of us who know differently because of our experiences with polypropylene mesh. I call . . . well, I guess I should now rate this writing about #JnJ: Rated “B” for mature audiences only.
As we all know, many people have been credited with saying some form of “Actions speak louder than words.”
In its earliest iteration, the sentiment is found in the Bible, 1 John 3:17-18:
“But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”
Yes, the spirit of the phrase “actions speak louder than words” goes back … way back! (SOURCE: http://www.idiomation.wordpress.com)
Never has an adage lived up to the test of time so much as now. Could there be a more influential company with a louder voice to tout this well-known, oft-quoted maxim? However, I don’t think any of the original orators of the adage intended it to be thought of as what it has become, with respect to #JnJ, America’s 7th largest publicly-held company.
I’d argue that #JnJ has invented something much, much better than Risperdal or Transvaginal Mesh: “The Crudo.” I’ll offer an operational definition here:
“Crudo: a credo, still in use, but which has become corrupted to the point that it is crude crud.” #JnJ’s “Crudo” could well be “Actions are unable to speak; and since words are a dime a dozen, we use them as often as we can instead.”
It appears that Johnson & Johnson has a totally different definition for adverse effects as well. Brill notes that a recent conversation with a financial analyst at #JnJ’s annual shareholder meeting resulted in this comment by the analyst,
As Johnson & Johnson declared in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission three weeks before the analysts’ conference,
“In the Company’s opinion … the ultimate outcome of legal proceedings, net of liabilities accrued in the Company’s balance sheet, is not expected to have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial position.” (Emphasis in bold is mine.)
Photo credit: Mesh News Desk (www.meshnewsdesk.com)
This statement begs the question, “Just how frighteningly IGNORANT are these people?” A vast majority of #JnJ consumers have severe adverse effects that affect more than their just their financial positions, effects that profoundly alter and forever change the status of their long term health, their family lives and their quality of life. It’s beyond insulting that the analyst even used the well-established, well-known definition of “adverse effect” in this context AND in reference to the medical industry!
What Johnson & Johnson has become is such a far cry from what its founder, R.W. Johnson, envisioned, that I cannot reconcile how his heirs could dishonor their patriarch in such a heinous way. It seems a mockery to the original Mr. Johnson and to all consumers past, present and future, that the company’s credo is engraved in stone at its Brunswick, New Jersey headquarters. True to their unofficial “Crudo,” they ought to consider replacing it, for it would be more profitable for them to replace the stone with a more accurate “vision,” one that represents what they actually do today, instead of changing their actions to revert to their original credo . . . Oh but wait; there’s that whole immeasurable, but quite visible “brand equity” thing. You know the one. . . “Johnson & Johnson – a family company.” I beg to differ and offer this instead:
“Johnson & Johnson, a family-demolishing company.”
The actions of this company do speak louder than words. #JnJ is far more successful in its Crudo than in its Credo.
Further into Mr. Brill’s account of speaking with #JnJ execs, we find a quote by Vice President for Media Relations Ernie Knewitz,
“In our opinion, significant ambiguity exists about what is or is not permissible regarding the communication of truthful and non-misleading scientific information about FDA-approved pharmaceutical products. Like doctors, patients, and others in the industry, we share an interest in greater regulatory clarity on the rules for appropriate promotion and scientific exchange, and we are working through industry groups to bring clarity and consistency to the rules that apply to those communications.”
Or in my own words, “We take advantage of every possible vagary to exploit our consumers and put profits before patients, simply because we can.” I find the surname “Knewitz” to be very fitting of a man who would say those words, or worse yet, actually believe them, for he Knows It, and he Knew It – he knows of every sociopathic dirty deed, he spins.
Mesh injured patients and their families are summed up by two words on the international, behemoth company’s P&L statement, “accrued liabilities.” That’s what we are to them. That’s what our devastating loss represents to them – just two words – a line item on a financial statement.
Modern Medieval Medicine – Paradoxical or not?
I hope you, Mesh Warriors, will find the significance of his writing as landmark as I do. What Brill is doing is documenting MEDICAL HISTORY. He is not simply writing. He is giving all of us access to the dark ages of medical history. NOW.
Thank you, Mr. Brill for your magnificent work and dedication. I can’t wait to read Chapter Two tomorrow!