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Johnson & Johnson Sudafed Destroying Rural America

Alex Gorsky is Chairman & CEO of Johnson & Johnson Source: JNJ Senior Management

AUGUST 2, 2015

In 2006 Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) bought Pfizer (PFE) Consumer Healthcare for $16.6B. One product included in the acquisition was pseudoephedrine (Soo-doh-EF-eh-drin) based Sudafed a decongestant which is also the number one product associated with the manufacture of meth.

Before the acquisition, Pfizer was working on a remedy for the "Sudafed Problem." In Johnson & Johnson's hands the Sudafed brand introduced an alternative: Sudafed PE (which is not pseudoephedrine based and can not be made into meth.) Though, customers with common colds and congestion responded Sudafed PE is not as effective as regular Sudafed.

Some companies have developed meth-resistant pseudoephedrine, however J&J appears to be uninterested. Despite the fact Johnson & Johnson's Sudafed has had a terrible effect on the entire United States, particularly rural America.

Home Of Meth-Resistant Pharma Lab Treats Their Population Like They Could Be A Meth-Heads

Ironically one very small company that has worked with Pfizer to develop meth-resistant pseudoephedrine, Acura Pharmaceuticals (ACUR) is based in Northern Indiana. News from the area in Indiana where one of Acura's labs is located, continuously reports Johnson & Johnson Sudafed and competing pseudoephedrine based cold meds have destroyed communities and are the reason why the county effectively treats everyone like they could be "meth-heads."

Acura's lab is located in the tiny town of Culver, Indiana which is in Marshall County, Indiana. According to local news this one small county sends residents to upwards of 1,000 years in prison each year, for: Meth.

The state of Indiana recently made an attempt to require a prescripton for Johnson & Johnson's Sudafed however a politician who chaired the committee that the bill was sent to disregarded it. Politicians who favor trying to prevent the problem of Johnson & Johnson Sudafed being used to make meth, report: Lobbyists for Sudafed made it impossible to fight meth made from Johnson & Johnson Sudafed.

The local representatives and state representatives in some parts of Indiana appear more interested in increasing revenue, than in preventing the meth that news reports is destryoing their community. Local news tells of politicians engaging in months long arguments over tickets for residents not mowing their lawns, months long arguments over whether to fix sidewalks, as the same local news reports of their community's families' lives being destroyed by meth, and a failed game of cat and mouse whereby the county according to news and comments: Treats all residents and visitors to Marshall County, Indiana like they are perhaps meth-heads, until proven otherwise.

According to the news the county focuses on minorities based on ethnicity, race, religion and poverty. Whereby Marshall County newspapers report that the vast majority of people who either do meth or are found to do meth represent the smallest percentages of the community. So it appears, and this may be common, that groups that make up less than 10% of the population account for over 90% of Marshall County, Indiana's meth fight.

So, clearly meth is a problem; Marshall County, Indiana sends people to prison for nearly 1,000 years total each year. One person, the news reported was given 50 years, for 1 gram of meth, when simply it does not appear that fixed their meth problem. At the same time the news reported town employees, allegedly took large sums of money like $100,000 and they were given 1 year house arrest. The news reports many people in the county that is home to a meth-resistant pseudoephedrine business, sends all these people to 1,000 years of prison, when those people would never be able to have made it, or tried meth or been addicted, if J&J Sudafed and competing products were meth-resistant. However J&J appears not to care.

States have tried to sue Johnson & Johnson, however they have been unsuccessful. One reason may be the fact Johnson & Johnson has a market cap that is 100 times bigger than some of these state's surplus funds.

Therefore, it appears Johnson & Johnson can afford to lobby and defend and exhaust the resources of the counties that have tried to argue against them. Counties that have seen their communities destroyed, by Johnson & Johnson's seeming callousness and complete disregard for everyone affected by J&J Sudafed turned into meth.

Johnson & Johnson's Sudafed Problem (J&J appears to have very weak leadership)

When ephedrine and pseudoephedrine were first extracted and developed they were miracle medicines. Especially for people with severe allergies and asthma. Once the medicine was first extracted from the Ephedra plant, scientists were able to distill ephedrine into amphetamine and from there scientists were able to synthesize and create methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine was advertised for weightloss and sold over-the-counter:

An advertisement for methamphetamine, when it was sold over the counter for weightloss

Because methamphetamine used to be over-the-counter, and targeted women. By telling healthy women they were "obese" as the advertisement above does. There is a strong possibility descendants of those who took meth for perceived weight issues, became far more likely now, to be addicted to Johnson & Johnson Sudafed made meth. Amphetamines were also used by militaries and it is possible descendants of U.S. soldiers who were given amphetamines or methamphetamines are far more likely to be addicted to Johnson & Johnson Sudafed made "meth."

Though Sudafed is one of Johnson & Johnson's smaller products, and though the effect of Sudafed has destroyed so many communities Johnson & Johnson decided, it appears, to do nothing. Except work harder to make larger quantities of Sudafed available, easily. If a county argues, as was the case when states sued over pseudoephedrine, the manufacturers appeared to play strong defense.

Johnson & Johnson is a wealthy company, that presents itself as a leader and because their product is the number one, associated with meth, it appears other pseudoephedrine cold med companies look up to Johnson & Johnson. The company often promotes their credo:

"We believe our first responsiblity is to the doctors, nurses and patients, to mothers and fathers and all others who use our products and services...

We are responsible to the communities in which we live and work and to the world community as well."

Though, while J&J constantly points to their credo, the company's disregard for the well being of communities appears to contradict the credo. It does not appear J&J cares about that contradiction.

For instance, during a search for meth, in a small town in Georgia, a flash grenade was fired into a baby's crib, severely injuring an infant. The person who was suspected of having meth was not at that residence, nor was any meth found. When, far fewer people would ever be able to try meth, thus never be addicted if J&J bothered to make Sudafed meth-resistant and be a leader, so other companies would do the same with their pseudoephedrine based cold meds.

Instead J&J appears to act like they are waiting, to try to get every last cent of profit, and not take safety of J&J Sudafed into consideration. Because: Then other companies might get the pseudoephedrine profit, they might get.

To make meth, people use drain cleaner and lithium battery acid along with several other even more toxic substances that are not intended to be ingested or inhaled. However, the byproduct of J&J Sudafed causes many people to become addicted (some seemingly much more than others) because people who try this awful mixture, sort of achieve a type of amphetamine within the toxic byproduct using J&J Sudafed. It of course doesn't matter to J&J leadership, presumably, that the company was founded on sterile gauze to heal people. Not a product that caused so much harm.

J&J Sudafed Terrible Effect On Rural America

In Indiana a 10-year old girl was killed and the New York Times reported in 2005: Too Late For Katie, Town Tackles a Drug's Scourge that what happened is she: "stumbled on someone with methamphetamine last month." A few years later Indiana news reported a 2-year old, who tested positive for meth was subsequently allegedly killed by his meth-addicted mother. Those types of reports are common with meth, and J&J knows, yet appears to act like they could not care less.

There are not just two or three examples of unbelievably tragic consequences of Johnson & Johnson's Sudafed, destroying communities. If you type: "meth" into Google News, Google maxs out the number of results at just over 1 month of news reports. Google sets a limit that shows many results, so anyone can search a news topic. Generally many months of reports can be viewed in the 50 pages of results, however not for meth. Rural America appears to be struggling, and the United States spends many billions of dollars fighting meth.

It seems America spends more billions of tax dollars fighting meth, than Johnson & Johnson and competing pseudoephedrine cold med manufactureres make selling it. This may also compound the J&J Sudafed Problem, and it appears some news reports conclude politicians and municipalities rely on that revenue stream, of money and business for small towns generated by not fixing the meth problem by making J&J Sudafed meth-resistant. Instead, some news reports conclude politicians, possibly as is the case in Marshall County, Indiana, find the meth problem to be great for business. Even though it is a fixable problem, by making pseudoephedrine prescription only or meth-resistant, and the meth problem hurts so many people and families.

So, for instance, even though Marshall County, Indiana is home to one of the only companies making meth-resistant pseudoephedrine, their product (meth-resistant pseudoephedrine: Nexafed) is not available at stores in Marshall County. For instance, the local paper in Marshall County, Indiana on Mother's Day featured a front page article about a mother who was being locked away, for many years, for meth. It's like: Uh, Happy Mother's Day? It's like what are families and businesses that consider moving there left to think? That, that is the future for their families?

When there are areas where there is at least a better chance that they could live and not be treated like they could be meth-heads, because the county is on a "winning streak" pulling in revenue from meth. That is how the news reports make it look, and that is just for one tiny county, Marshall County, Indiana where every year they send their tiny community to nearly a millenium of prison, over a problem easily fixed, that is just too profitable for the politicians, who don't mind randomly harming the families in their land? Instead of maybe working with the company in their county that makes meth-resistant pseudoephedrine, unlike 99.9% of all the other counties in America, harmed so terribly by Johnson & Johnson's Sudafed Problem.

Rural Areas Hurt By J&J Sudafed Meth, Made With "Nazi Method"

Especially in Northern Indiana, where there are annual events called "KKKristmas," and the papers used to report of Marshall County town employees holding cross-burnings on their farms and the community used to produce an annual play, in Marshall County, Indiana, about African-Americans that joked about losing rights, called: "The Phantom Ni**er" and where the news also reports, with photos, the KKKristmas (a few miles from Marshall County) uses Nazi symbols and the small town of Culver often has reports of people proudly displaying the Confederate Flag and swastika tattoos.

Where, also, it is not uncommon to see the swastika painted as graffitti in Marshall County, Indiana which according to some reports (the ones that say when African Americans moved to Culver, Indiana their neighbors drove by, at all hours shouting the n-word at them) it may be that the "Nazi method" of making meth with J&J Sudafed fits into a type of cultural archetype. Whereby it is somehow supposed to be "cool" and/or "intimidating" to graffiti and tattoo swasitkas, and use "Nazi method" to turn J&J Sudafed into meth; in an area where several WWII heros who fought the Nazis are from.

As some sort of reminder, according to documentaries on the area of Indiana, which show hateful town meetings with sculptures of Adolf Hitler by the podium of the speaker. So, even though the news reports across the United States about how J&J Sudafed is made into meth using "the Nazi method" somehow J&J reasons that is just: "Part of doing business...?" Particularly the fact that while J&J Sudafed is part of the "Nazi method" the news reports from Northern Indiana indicate it does not appear most of townspeople who get sucked into the J&J Sudafed meth problem are part of the same groups that made the summer of 2015, according to news reports & comments, in Marshall County: The summer of the Confederate flag in Northern Indiana. Many tourists commented, that the Confederate flag flew, sadly, all over Marshall county this summer, which is simply sad, because of all years to maybe keep that old flag tucked away, this year would have been the year to do it, since it hurt so many people. So, according to the news it's not like the people who wave the Confederate flag and display their swastika tattoos are the people who make up the 1,000 years of sentences handed down by Marshall County, Indiana. Those townspeople just happen to use the "Nazi method." So, investors can perhaps see the J&J Sudafed Problem in rural America, is in investment terminology: Screwed up.

State Politicians Unwilling To Fight J&J Sudafed Problem, Some Say Because Lobbyist Money

In a sense the destruction of small towns in Indiana are representative of all of the small towns across America that have been plagued by J&J's seeming greed for what appears to amount to a very small fraction of overall revenue and net income for Johnson & Johnson. In Marshall County, Indiana the news reports the county gave 50 years prison to one person who was alleged to have sold 1 gram of meth and commonly the county gives 20 years to people who use J&J Sudafed allegedly to make meth. The only point is, according to their own news that did not and apparently does not prevent meth from continuing to be a problem. However, the county and Indiana appear to have decided that giving everyone's tax dollars for a game of whack-a-mole is more... profitable, than going to the source of the J&J Sudafed meth problem and either making J&J Sudafed: meth-resistant or prescription only.

Unfortunately, according to the news state politicians who represent Marshall County, Indiana (with recently redrawn district maps) refuse to consider requesting meth-resistant Sudafed or prescription only status. Some reports indicate state politicians instead block constituents who request the community elected representatives work to fix the J&J Sudafed meth problem, on social media.

So, literally the state politicians, block their own constituents, for asking them to consider standing up to J&J on behalf of all the constituents, when their communities are tragically affected. The Marshall County, Indiana representatives on the state level perhaps believe the J&J Sudafed meth problem is just part of doing business with tax dollars, when one argument is that it is a huge waste. Given the fact that if J&J Sudafed is made meth-resistant or prescription only, so many people would never try, make or use meth to begin with (therefore they'd not get addicted and continue to use J&J Sudafed meth or go to larger distributors, who depend on rural American families first becoming addicted thanks to Johnson & Johnson.)

Some American counties reported they dramatically (up to 90+% decrease in meth-labs) reduced their Johnson & Johnson Sudafed Problem by making it prescription only, or switching to meth-resistant pseudoephedrine. That is according to New York Times How To Kill The Meth Monster. It turns out, that according to the news the governor of Indiana financially supported the politician who refused to do anything about the bill written to make J&J Sudafed prescription only. When the news also reported the same politician financially supported by Indiana's governor, was allegedly, basically made to resign, after he was alleged to have threatened a person who he was supposed to protect, in their job previous to becoming a state politician, and it's like: Oh, ok so that guy is the one who completely disregarded the legislation designed to try to fix Indiana's J&J Sudafed meth problem? Is it because, as the other politicians said, there was a lobbying check involved and is it because the politicians who refuse to do anything, could care less how many random people and families are harmed by something that can actually very easily be cured? There is simply no way to overstate the importance of the fact, that if J&J Sudafed and competing products were meth-resistant or prescription only many, many people would never, ever try meth to begin with, and thus not get addicted

So, it seems important and it seems neither J&J or politicians are too interested in the problem. Investors should be. Because not only is the J&J Sudafed Problem harmful for J&J stock it is also harmful to the credit ratings of the counties that are effectively destroyed and no longer a destination for most people thinking of building families and businesses. Common sense dictates, why would a person look for a job if they have a choice in a place ravaged by J&J Sudafed meth?

The politicians, not just in Indiana, across America, who try to fight Johnson & Johnson, on behalf of all those who suffered and lost so tragically as a result of J&J Sudafed tell reporters they can not. Because of the lobbyists, working to stop any further restriction, on not just J&J Sudafed, but all products.

When there seems to be a huge difference between most J&J products and J&J Sudafed. Most J&J products don't require the United States to spend billions of tax dollars fighting the reaction to that product. When unfortunately, even for those families who for some reason feel they belong to the Confederate cause or German WWII side cause, all these years later, somehow made areas like Northern Indiana their home, and never got over the conflicts from so long ago.

It is simply unfortunate because like so many other communities in Indiana and in the entire United States and in the world, that are now ravaged beyond repair by Johnson & Johnson's disregard and carelessness: They were built by families who tried to give everything they possibly could.

The people who built the county worked hard, not for themselves, for their families and the future of their communities. It turns out, to an extent, given the harm caused by Johnson & Johnson Sudafed and to a lesser degree politicians who possibly think their jobs are not to serve their communities, but to serve themselves; it turns out all that hard work, simply did not pay off. Their communities, for instance Marshall County, Indiana home of Culver, Indiana, were utterly ravaged by Johnson & Johnson's Sudafed, and the company's total apparent carelessness and seemingly their greed. Instead of at any point an employee or leader at J&J reading those terrible reports about J&J Sudafed meth, and reading about the "Nazi method" and fixing it so their product would not be a part of that.

The Bottom Line

Johnson & Johnson leadership, relative to the J&J Sudafed meth problem, appears to be very greedy, over a fraction of 1% of their net income, that actually does so much harm even to their own customers. Those people who use Sudafed to make meth are also J&J customers. However, in some instances factors beyond their control, like the fact methamphetamine used to be promoted like candy for weightloss, causes people who try it once to be addicted.

The liability on Johnson & Johnson, when counties have made efforts to argue that the manufacturers are liable for the tragic results of J&J Sudafed made into meth, seem concerning from an investment standpoint. However, more so, the fact J&J leadership decided the small amount of profit from this one product is worth all of the collateral damage. It's like none of the terrible reports about the harm caused by J&J Sudafed have been compelling enough for Johnson & Johnson's leadership. When several of the news reports are simply awful, J&J somehow sits there, does nothing as if to say: "Yeah another bad report, but J&J does not care, at all."

That J&J somehow feels the small amount of Sudafed profit is worth the destruction of the communities they serve is very disappointing, from an investor standpoint. Because J&J and their J&J Cares campaign appears to present a contrary image of the company, one that according to their motto: "Cares."

To the point where prominent members of the Johnson family, for instance the legendary actor Kirk Douglas, who is by most accounts one of the greatest of all time, whose family are Johnson cousins, have had their own families torn apart by meth. However, even though it appears examples like that are close to J&J, in that they perhaps have heard of the Johnson family, the J&J leadership apparently could care less and would never lift a finger to make it so their product can not be used to make meth. By making Sudafed meth-resistant.

So, is it fair that some lobbyists give some small checks to some politicians, who then turn a blind eye to the destruction of the communities they were supposedly elected to represent? More importantly, should investors weigh the potential liability on J&J, who apparently cares so much more for that fraction of a percent of profit, than for all of J&J customers who were hurt so badly because of J&J Sudafed meth?

How does a tiny county like Marshall County, Indiana have such a huge meth problem? Where their local news reports, routinely people are locked away for 20 years, even 50 years for 1 gram of meth. How does the home for one of the nation's only meth-resistant pseudoephedrine labs, get so ravaged by J&J Sudafed meth?

Is it a combination of politicians who are greedy, who view the revenue from the J&J Sudafed meth game of whack-a-mole, as more profitable, than: Boring, old fixing the problem? Like a plumber who would not fix a leak only to get return calls and more money, knowing the leak could be fixed. In some areas, J&J apparently is in luck because, politicians obey their lobbyists for very small checks, it appears. This is based on comments from politicians' offices on this subject. Who said the problem with trying to fight J&J Sudafed meth is their lobbyists, how does Johnson & Johnson explain that to the families in Marshall County, Indiana that have been torn apart? Particularly when of all counties, they are in the 0.01% of places with their own meth-resistant pseudoephedrine company, yet their news, weekly reports another resident, and another resident and another torn from their families, they had 1 gram of meth so 20 years, 50 years. A thousand years every year.

Contrary to the belief of Johnson & Johnson and possibly some rural politicians, that is actually not good business. It is terrible business. Some companies and some towns don't treat their residents and customers terribly. Don't treat everyone like they could be a meth-head. Some recognize the problem with J&J Sudafed so they made it prescription only.

It is clear that the J&J Sudafed lobbyists won. They won and so many towns got destroyed, so many families got hurt and torn apart. According to some of the politicians who tried to write legislation making J&J Sudafed meth-resistant, those J&J Sudafed lobbyists can figure out who the right politician to give a check to is. To buy more time for Sudafed, to hurt more people and destroy more towns, with the caveat that those towns can enjoy a revenue stream of tax money, as the state gives tax dollars to the towns for each meth-head they produce.

According to comments on some news reports Marshall County, Indiana actually conducts lectures that are supposed to thwart meth use, however in the lectures county employees tell general groups of townspeople exactly how to make the meth. People, who before those meetings didn't know how to make it. So Marshall County, Indiana, literally has county employees who hold meetings and explain to the townspeople how to make meth with J&J Sudafed using: "The Nazi method." Then, according to news reports the rest of the year is spent playing a game of whack-a-mole, treating townspeople like they all could be meth-heads until proven otherwise.

So, it appears Johnson & Johnson could have cared less about the 10-year old girl from Indiana killed because of J&J Sudafed meth. J&J did nothing after the 2-year old from Indiana was also killed. That just does not make sense. To an extent, that: Small town politicians are sometimes greedy is almost something to be expected. That small town Indiana representatives on the state level would trade in the communities they represent for a small check from a lobbyist is unfortunate, however believable. However, it is simply unbelievable no one at Johnson & Johnson, after reading the nightmarish reports of the destruction of rural America, because of J&J Sudafed, lifted a finger to fix the J&J Sudafed Problem; except express: Johnson & Johnson could care less about rural America.

Disclaimer: This article is not a recommendation to buy or sell. Mark Quarter Investment News authors hold Johnson & Johnson stock and / or have exposure to Johnson & Johnson, Acura Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer stock & bonds through funds. Please consult a qualified financial adviser to determine proper allocations, if any to investments.


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