New Brunswick, NJ: In the wake of its $2.2 billion settlement for criminal marketing practices, Johnson & Johnson has announced its decision to suspend its effort to market antipsychotics to children. This includes the pulling of “Children’s Haloperidol,” “Baby’s First Quetipine,” and even the popular “Flintstones Chewable Resperdal.” It also means the cancelling of the popular children’s series “JJ’s Medicated Adventure,” where an ethnically ambiguous cartoon boy faced off against monsters armed with a magic pill bottle.
“We’re sorry to have to do this, but we have to give in to government pressure,” said John Johnson-Johnson, spokesperson for Johnson & Johnson. “We don’t agree with all the accusations the government’s made, even some of the true ones.”
Johnson & Johnson has been combating negative press for marketing to children, including earlier this year when it was revealed Resperdal doses had given an adolescent boy lactating breasts. The company responded in a personal correspondence to the boy, suggesting that he wait until puberty to see how he feels about his new endowments. They even changed the warning label on the bottle to read “May cause C-cups and above.” The result was a spike in profits for both Johnson & Johnson and Victoria’s Secret.
This was not the first case of Johnson & Johnson putting a positive spin on side effects to attract young customers. “Dizziness” was replaced with “instant tilt-a-whirl” and “drowsiness” was replaced with “gets you drunk,” while “projectile vomit” was left as “projectile vomit,” though the word “cool!” was included next to it. Also included in the side effects were unfounded claims of “spider senses,” “ninja reflexes,” and “the ability to turn invisible.”
Outrage at these actions finally came to a head when Johnson & Johnson started putting teen idols like Miley Cyrus on bottles of prescription medicines. A group of parents filed a class-action suit and Johnson & Johnson was forced to shutter its operation. However, the company maintained that Miley Cyrus was the perfect poster child for antipsychotics.
“The ones who are really losing in this are the children,” said Johnson-Johnson, indicating the children he had brought to the press conference with him. Some appeared to be catching imaginary flies while others seemed to have a difficult time understanding the ceiling. When someone complained about Johnson-Johnson using the children as tools to make a point, Johnson-Johnson dismissed concerns, saying, “Oh don’t worry, they’re so hopped up on painkillers they don’t know where they are.”