|September 30, 2011|
|J&J Beat From Singer to Harris at NYT|
|By Jack O'Dwyer|
|Natasha Singer, New York Times health reporter who wrote numerous stories about Johnson & Johnson’s problems, including the June 11, 2010 story headlined “J&J Seen as Uncooperative on Recall Inquiry,” has been switched from the J&J beat to the Sunday business section.|
Nearly 300 million drug product units have been recalled by J&J in the past year.
Covering J&J will be Harris, who covers the Food & Drug Administration and health topics. He was previously at the Wall Street Journal and before that was bureau chief for the Louisville, Ky., Courier-Journal.
Harris has written on a wide range of health topics for NYT.
Singer, a graduate of Brown University with a degree in comparative literature and creative writing, joined NYT in 2006. She developed the “Skin Deep” column for the Thursday Style section. Previously she was correspondent for Outside Magazine and a health and beauty editor at W Magazine.
'Blood Feud' Targets J&J Product
A new book, "Blood Feud" by Kathleen Sharp, charges that J&J is “blatantly marketing overdoses” of Procrit, a blood cell stimulating drug.
Patients are unaware of the risks behind this “poorly tested drug,” which one hematologist called “Miracle-Gro for Cancer,” writes Sharp.
A source for her is sales rep Mark Duxbury, who tried to warn his superiors but whose “honesty costs him his career.”
Duxbury was humiliated and ignored for years and was “ultimately betrayed in a shockingly cruel way,” says the book.
“Procrit performs frighteningly well, and can stimulate so many blood cells that thousands of patients die in unexplained and painful ways,” says Sharp.
J&J Sees “No Merit” in Bartz Book
Scott Bartz, author of "The Tylenol Mafia," has been making numerous radio and TV appearances with Michelle Reiner Rosen, daughter of Lynn Reiner, a 1982 poisoning victim.
A lengthy piece ran Sept. 26 in the Chicago Daily Herald in which J&J spokesman Bill Price is quoted as saying that the “premise of the Bartz book has no merit. The facts of this case have been shared with the appropriate authorities over the years and we defer any comment to the appropriate legal authorities.”
Chicago FBI spokesman Ross Rice also refused comment when asked for one by the Daily Herald. Rice added that “No one has come forward with enough evidence to file criminal charges.”
Bartz contends that the focus should be on J&J as responsible for the poisoned Tylenols, a responsibility that it has escaped.
The key that unlocks the case, he says, is the death of Lynn Reiner, 27, who died at home after returning from the Central DuPage hospital with her new son, Joshua. She took two Extra Strength Tylenols that the hospital had given her and fell to the kitchen floor, gasping for breath.
Her husband, Ed, discovered her in that condition when he returned home and called the operator who called police.
Attempts were made to resuscitate her. The hospital put her on life support but she was already “clinically dead,” says Bartz.
Michelle Reiner Rosen, then eight-years-old, had arrived home with her father and was told to go upstairs. Police remember her on the stairs looking down at her mother on the floor and wondering what happened. She is perplexed by the continued silence of authorities in the face of what she feels is overwhelming evidence that J&J was responsible for the murders.
“It’s funny that no one wants to talk about this,” she told www.gsradio.net (MP3). “It’s so out there,” she said. “People are afraid of J&J calling up and cancelling their ads.”
Lynn Reiner’s Tylenols had come from the pharmacy of the hospital which was far beyond the reach of the alleged “madman” who supposedly went from store to store placing poisoned Tylenol bottles on shelves. This proves that the poisonings took place while still on the watch of J&J, says Bartz, whose book includes extensive descriptions of the distributional channels used for drugs.
The ingredients in Tylenol and many other drugs commonly were shipped in bulk drums for repackaging by various middlemen, he notes.
Bartz feels that many more poisoned bottles of Tylenol were in the Chicago area but that they were never discovered because people were asked to destroy them or flush them down the toilet or return them to J&J.
The company treated this as a product recall rather than a crime, he says. Turning over the “evidence” in a crime to a suspect goes against all normal police practice, he adds, saying that only one percent of Tylenols in the area ever got into the hands of the police, FBI and other investigators.
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