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Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon & DePuy Synthes: Open Payments Case Study

Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon & DePuy Synthes: Open Payments Case Study

Updated July 1, 2015

CMS Open Payments Data as it relates to payouts

January 10, 2015

Open Payments &  Sunshine Act (same thing-the government’s design to confuse the very people it’s meant to protect) exposes how much Pharma/Device companies paid to physicians and teaching institutions.

Digesting the Data: Case Study

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) was repeatedly in the news in 2014 for two of their divisions as it relates to harming patients:

Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ) Ethicon’s Gynecare for transvaginal mesh (over 24,000 cases pending in federal court (updated from September* map below) which does not account for additional individual cases against the company).


Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ) DePuy Synthes for ASR hips ($2.5 billion DOJ fine to absolve 8,000 cases in federal court) and Pinnacle hips (6,000 cases currently still in federal court).

Johnson & Johnson Federal Cases September 2014


These locations indicate where the federal mass tort (consolidated) cases are held.

Grab a snack-this is going to be a long one.

Johnson & Johnson Family Tree Pharma Device and Consumer


Johnson & Johnson is broken down into three main divisions:

Pharmaceutical           Medical/Diagnostic Device        Consumer Products

The focus of Open Payments for this Case Study relates to the Medical Diagnostic Device divisions: broken down further into two divisions:

                                     Ethicon                                   DePuy (or now DePuy Synthes)

                                     Mesh Cases                           Hip Cases (Case Study)

                                   Full list below                      Full list below 

CMS Open Payments JNJ Ethicon DePuySynthes Killing My Career

Johnson & Johnson Ethicon and DePuy Synthes data compiled from Open Payments via ProPublica

Payments only reflect the last five months of 2013

                               Ethicon=$5+ million                              DePuy Synthes=$51+ million 


Yes, you’ve read that correctly Johnson & Johnson’s device division (Ethicon/DePuy Synthes) paid more than $56 million to doctors in the last five months 2013.  So when DePuy Synthes was forced to pay the government $2.5 billion in 2014 it should make every consumer and taxpayer question two things:

How does the fine relate to the total dollar ASR hips produced (profit) for the company from inception to date? (Is that fine a deterring factor or built into annual budgets?)

Where is that $2.5 billion the government collected going specifically?  Johnson & Johnson long knew they were going to pay that fine and still managed to spend over $51 million (some would argue) to buy physicians. 

This money should be going to the victims. Not just from the company but from the government as well.


Johnson & Johnson Ethicon & DePuy Synthes 3

Here’s where it gets tricky, especially for those wanting to track Ethicon.

The Sociopathic Business Model™ has correctly pointed out that companies often change names to distance from previous unethical and or illegal behavior under.  Companies work years if not decades to cultivate ownership and recognition in a market and to make changes to a brand is not only costly it’s inconsistent & contradictory language to action for a company such as Johnson & Johnson to keep changing names under division headings and yet April 17, 2013 Ethicon announced:

Ethicon, Inc. today announced the launch of a new brand strategy that will unify the brands of Ethicon, Inc. and Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc. – two companies with long histories of medical innovation – to create the most comprehensive and global surgical care organization in the world. The new Ethicon strategy is designed to better serve customer and patient needs by enhancing the company’s solid foundation established over the last 80 years, with a strengthened focus on delivering innovations that matter to customers—and ultimately make a difference for patients. The unified brand focus represents Ethicon’s commitment to enabling a simpler, more productive experience for customers by offering one comprehensive Ethicon portfolio for their surgical needs, delivered with a more streamlined approach.

The new name was originally thought to be Ethicon One but even the press release is vague as to what the new name is which is again inconsistent & contradictory when it comes to marketing a company with an extensive and established portfolio. Many companies fall under the Ethicon umbrella or subdivisions including Gynecare (mesh) and Acclarent to name a very specific few.

Ethicon’s list: (as of 1/9/2015)

Ethicon DevicesEthicon Specialties

Johnson & Johnson buys Acclarent WSJ

Except under the Ethicon ENT page Acclarent is missing.  Really? Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon purchased Acclarent in January 2010 for $785 million and no mention of it on the new Ethicon site?  Why is that important? Well, the lack of transparency makes it difficult to track the data accurately.

Ethicon Acclarent missing from website

CMS should also require each company break down per division (so not just Ethicon) but each subdivision because unless you’re in the industry and know where to look it’s tough to find.  And even if you’re in the industry it’s still tough to find.

Shell Game

When looking at specific procedures to try and understand the data again it’s vague and leaves a lot open to interpretation.  Transparency is really only transparent when the data is clear and user friendly-the CMS has made improvements but still has a long way to go.  Thankfully ProPublica helps more so than CMS; but, the average person shouldn’t have to visit several sites to access the data. Data is only useful when you know what you’re looking, can find it quickly and know how to find and apply it properly.  This is not the case with the CMS data-yet.


This shows just Coloplast (does that sound familiar mesh victims?) and Ethicon made payments under Pelvic Floor Repair. Budgets are likely different between the two companies as well-meaning the majority of the payments are likely from Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon.




Without doubt hips across all device makers is clearly the money maker.  The medical device hip industry spent over $30 million



Clear as mud, right? Again, this by design from both the U.S. Government and the Device makers, to lead the patients and taxpayers in a maddening loop of confusion to distract from the real issues.  Think about it-if they can afford to pay billions in fines still spend this kind of money on “education” and the DOJ doesn’t have to tell the taxpayers where all these billions go-what’s the incentive for either side to want to fix this broken system?  

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