Johnson & Johnson CEO Idly Wonders How Much Money He’d Make Off National Tylenol Epidemic

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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Explaining that he didn’t necessarily plan to act on his thought, Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky reportedly wondered Tuesday how much money he’d make off of a national Tylenol epidemic. “Look, I’m not saying I want there to be an eruption of Tylenol usage and have people across America addicted to Tylenol, but think of what it would do for sales,” said Gorsky, adding that he had often pondered including some language about initiating a Tylenol epidemic on a quarterly strategy presentation just to see if his idea received any support, especially when, as he did that day, he had his eye on a new home in the Berkshires. “When I look at what the opioid people were able to make off the epidemic, I admit I can’t help but wonder. And it’s not like a Tylenol epidemic would be as bad as one for harder drugs. Unless people start taking lots and lots of them to still get the positive effects, which would be very lucrative for us—but I can’t think that way. There’s a whole market that’s untapped here, that’s for sure. We’d just have to put a lot of money into research that says there are no downsides, and then really increase our marketing to doctors so it’s the first thing they suggest. And then people would get real relief from painful headaches—surely that’s a reasonable tradeoff for me adding a few million to my annual salary? Maybe if we can get teens to start grinding Tylenol up and snorting it, Tylenol could become a popular teen drug, and if we kick things off in the Rust Belt, no one will even notice for decades. Oh, stop it, Alex, you’ve gone over this and you know it’ll never work. But it sure is nice to dream.” Gorsky added that while the recent lawsuits brought against opioid manufacturers gave him pause, he figured any punishment from a Tylenol epidemic would be decades down the road and he’d be able to cash out by then.