Stonewalling P&G Style

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Recent Press Articles concerning P&G / Principles / Values / Trust

France fines P&G and Colgate for laundry prices
9th December 2011

NEW YORK — Procter & Gamble Co. and Colgate-Palmolive Co. were among companies fined Thursday by French authorities, who accused them of fixing laundry detergent prices for years. Procter & Gamble, which is based in Cincinnati and is the world's biggest consumer products company, was fined 233.6 million euros ($311 million). Colgate-Palmolive, based in New York, was fined 35.4 million euros ($47 million).

Unilever, P&G Fined $457 Million by EU for Detergent Cartel
13th April 2011

Unilever and Procter & Gamble Co. (PG)agreed to pay 315.2 million euros ($457 million) in fines to end a European Union probe into price fixing of laundry detergent. P&G, the maker of Ariel washing powder, was fined 211.2 million euros and Unilever will pay 104 million euros for agreeing with Henkel KGaA, the German maker of Persil, to fix prices of the detergent in eight countries over a three-year period, the European Commission said today in an e-mailed statement.

Scope Mouthwash Recalled By P&G
Mouthwash, in the U.S. and Canada, because the child-resistant caps might malfunction. The recalled bottles of mouthwash also lack the following statement:

"This Package for Households without Young Children," as required by the Poison Prevention Packaging Act (PDF). The mouthwash contains ethyl alcohol which can be toxic and lead to serious injury or death if ingested by young children.

Scope mouthwash recalled over cap defect

June 28, 2010

Procter & Gamble announced a precautionary recall of certain bottles of Scope Original Mint and Scope Peppermint

By Gergana Koleva

While the company is saying the recall is voluntary, it is hard to overlook the fact that it has issued several product recalls as of late. Earlier today, it announced it is pulling 4-Hour Nasal Decongestant VapoSpray off store shelves because of faulty expiration dates. Back in December, it recalled DayQuil capsules for lacking childproof packaging. And just last month, it became embroiled in an aggressive public spat with parents over Pampers' new line of diapers Dry Max, which allegedly caused infants severe burns and rashes.
"Our products are produced under the highest standards and best quality control possible. In fact, it is these high standards that help us to quickly identify any issues and take any steps needed to address problems," said Paul Fox, a spokesman for P&G. "Four billion consumers every day place their trust in our brands and we will never betray that trust."

Some Oral B mouthwash recalled
CBC News

Posted: Jul 14, 2011 12:01 PM ET

Procter & Gamble recalls mouthwash, Health Canada

(Several brands of Oral-B mouthwashes are under recall for possible microbial contamination, Health Canada says.

Procter & Gamble is voluntarily recalling Oral B Anti-Cavity Dental Rinse — Alcohol Free" (NPN 02129930) and Oral-B Anti-Bacterial with Fluoride — Alcohol Free Daily Use Mouthrinse" (DIN 02130823

People with severely weakened immune systems, such as those with cystic fibrosis, may be more susceptible to harmful health effects from microbial contamination in the recalled mouthwash products.

P&G recalls DayQuil not in child-proof packaging
Dec 18, 2009
Reuters) - Procter & Gamble Co said on Friday that it is recalling some Vicks DayQuil Cold & Flu medicine that did not come in a childproof package. While the label says the packaging is child-resistant, the so-called blister packs in the box are not.
There have been no reports of children accidentally taking the medication, P&G said.
Vicks DayQuil Cold & Flu 24-Count LiquiCaps Bonus Packs, which were sold only in the United States, are the only product affected by the latest voluntary recall, P&G said.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said P&G is recalling 700,000 packages sold from September 2008 through this month.
The recall marks the latest issue for the company's Vicks brand. Last month, P&G voluntarily recalled about 120,000 bottles of Vicks Sinex nasal spray after finding bacteria in a small amount.
In late October, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning letter to P&G over the marketing of Vicks DayQuil and NyQuil products with vitamin C. [ID:nWNAB7896]
DayQuil Cold & Flu is not for children under 12 years old, unless recommended by a doctor. If a child swallowed it, it could cause serious health problems or death, P&G said.
P&G said the FDA and CPSC supported the recall.
(Reporting by Jessica Wohl. Editing by Robert MacMillan)

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Famous Unanswered Letter !!!!!

Registered Mail Rome, 15th July 08

I refer to the two responses received to date 11/15/07 in reply to my letter 7/24/07, and the second 6/16/08 referring to my letter 11/25/07.
As one can see in both instances no reference has been made to the Dental Hygienist signatures from approx 14 countries including the eminent and highly respected Dr. Esther Wilkins. P Franz seems to view this whole matter as “your perceived issue”. Once again I must reiterate that for a company who finances much of Dental Hygienist’s continuing education, I cannot “perceive “how the signatures from Dental Hygienists working worldwide can be ignored.
The second response (L.Chalk / Regulatory Manager Oral Care Product Safety) instead, states that “Superfloss is designed for a specialised consumer with dental appliances or wide spaces, most ofwho use this product at home”. She seems unaware that Dentists / Dental Hygienists use the product daily in the Dental office. She also states “It is unfortunate that in EU countries, as you stated that “cross infection control in dentistry .......vary very considerably”. This is of concern to everyone and points to one reason we offer Glide Threader Floss which has single use packets” yet notwithstanding the above admission P&G still chooses to ignore the problem for their Oral B product See letter on blog “Stonewalling P&G Style” .
It is further interesting to note, according to L. Chalk, that “P&G is open to new ideas and innovations” Yet despite this, the advent of Hepatitis C and –not least- P&G’s much advertised policy for the environment / sustainability (enclosed) the Oral B Superfloss cardboard box packaging has remained unchanged for almost 30 years (and has not even introduced a wipe clean box). One must also take into consideration that Procter & Gamble only acquired Glide products in 2003 and it is perhaps for this reason that L. Chalk is further unaware that Glide Threader Floss is certainly NOT available in all EU countries whereas the Oral B Superfloss distribution is well established.
I must also query why the Material Data Sheets (enclosed) do not carry any advice with regard to how to extract the Superfloss threads from the box in order to avoid cross infection, i.e. by not using fingers which may have blood traces either on the operators gloves or from a shared family packet. At this point I am enclosing a used box from a Dental Office. On close observation it can be seen that the box was not only used by way of protocol outlined by Gillette lawyer D. Tobin January 03. Unfortunately misuse can be encouraged when the operator is in a hurry and as frequently happens more than thread comes out at a time. The threads in excess will then be put back very often using a finger which may carry blood thus contaminating the remaining threads. This could be particularly unsafe when children with orthodontic appliances are using the same cardboard Superfloss box with other family members. We must also remember that the Oral B Superflosstm box does not have a wipeable surface and can therefore easily absorb blood, saliva etc. Refer to photos on blog “Stonewalling P&G Style”. This is primarily the reason why the packaging carries a risk of cross infection for both home and surgery use. The common cold sore / herpes virus often found at the corners of the mouth or on the lip is highly infectious, if bleeding occurs whilst flossing it could then be transmitted through handling the threads in the cardboard box packaging It is up to P&G to acknowledge that the present packaging can easily lead to misuse and to innovate the packaging to ensure that the product is hygienically dispensed.
A company with such a highly developed research team capable of producing what the British press (enclosed) have defined as a “Sat Nav” should surely be able to recognise the shortfalls of the SUPERFLOSStm packaging and rectify it. The consumer should not have to be penalised by price differences or lack of availability, for safety. ............................................R.J.B.

Please note that this correspondence was sent by registered post in July 2008 with at least 80 reminders - December 2011 – also addressed to CEO B. McDonald / 4 P&G Board of Governance members were also informed in June 09./ Robert A. Steele etc. etc.
In December 2011 Alessandro Quattrini POH, Professional Academic Relations Manager P&G Italy, responded, but has not authorized publication of his response.

Update May 2013

As of yet P&G have still not responded to the above letter dated 15th July 2008.

However, according to the F.D.A., Dr. Susan Runner, ( e-mail November 2010) in response to my concerns regarding the evident shortfalls of the cardboard box packaging, has advised “that it would be quite appropriate for health care professional(s) to provide their patients with appropriate use parameters, particularly for those patients who might be at risk.” 

In response to the numerous queries as to which  categories of patients may be considered as cross infection risks, or equally important,  as health risk carriers, the following groups have been selected for guideline purposes:

Patients with diagnosed hepatitis

Patients with oral herpes / Oral fungal thrush infections

Patients with autoimmune / immune deficiency disorders / where the hosts system is weakened e.g. HIV / Crohns disease  

Patients undergoing cancer therapies.

Patients who have undergone organ transplants,  are on continuing medication / patients who have recently undergone prosthetic joint replacements.

Patients with cardiovascular disease /valve disorders /on prescribed medication with tendency to bleeding e.g.  warfarin medication

Pregnant  / nursing mothers

Patients with diabetes

Children undergoing orthodontic treatment

Health care professionals can then, provide the appropriate use parameters, e.g. advising  individual box use i.e. not sharing with other family members etc., thus avoiding any possibility of cross infection.            

10 Good Reasons Why P&G are Not Always Right and "The Famous Unanswered Letter"

  1. P&G maintain tough Values, Principles & Ethics. For example they claim to treat consumers, customers etc as they want to be treated. As can be seen in this instance apparently they do not believe in answering or acknowledging correspondence even after repeatedly receiving the same letter for 5 years!

    thumbs down

  2. P&G claim to follow strict ethical principles e.g. to always act within the letter and spirit of the law. Apparently under helmsman A.G. Lafley, price fixing for laundry detergent was in operation in Europe from 2002 -2005.

    The European Commission, thumbs up however, did not seem to agree that this was acting within the spirit or the letter of the law and in 2011 fined P&G a total of 211.million euros excerpt article below:

    In April 2011, P&G was fined 211.2m euros by the European Commission for establishing a price-fixing cartel in Europe along with Unilever, who was fined 104m euros, and Henkel (not fined). Though the fine was set higher at first, it was discounted by 10% after P&G and Unilever admitted running the cartel. As the provider of the tip-off leading to investigations, Henkel was not fined The price-fixing cartel began in January 2002, according to the commission, when P&G and Unilever, along with Germany's Henkel, held talks over plans to implement an industry-wide programme to improve the environmental performance of detergents. The companies agreed to shrink the amount of packaging they used but to keep prices unchanged, and later to collectively raise prices. The arrangement lasted until March 2005 and involved products sold in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands. The cartel lasted some three years and aimed at stabilising market positions and at coordinating prices in violation of EU and EEA antitrust rules," said the commission as it announced the fines. Henkel avoided a fine after being granted full immunity for informing the commission about the cartel in 2008.

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  3. P&G profess to be good corporate citizens, who always try and do the right thing therefore imagine public opinion worldwide when the media reported on the P&G Fixodent denture cream alarm.thumbs down

    The question here is what do P&G consider as "doing the right thing", excerpt article below:

    P&G And A Consultant Posted Fri, 02/11/2011 - 11:33am by Ed Silverman

    Three years ago, 2008 a study was published in the Neurology journal indicating that excessive use of denture adhesive creams containing zinc can cause serious neurologic disease and a deficiency of copper. However, the study was actually completed two years earlier 2006, but publication was delayed thanks to a peer reviewer, who allegedly had ties to Procter & Gamble, which sells Fixodent, one of the widely used denture creams. In his review, Kenneth Shay, a dentist, called any link between excessive use of denture cream and neurological disease "little more than speculation," and carped that the study authors "don't understand the nature of the material they are writing about," according to an ABC News report, which aired the other evening and noted that Shay was also consulting for P&G. The ABC program World News Tonight referred to e-mails and documents in which Shay recommended watering down the findings and also sent drafts to P&G. In one e-mail, which was briefly flashed on the television screen, he wrote: "Please be circumspect because, as a reviewer, I'm not supposed to be passing an unpublished manuscript around" (you can read more and watch here). For those unfamiliar, zinc used in denture creams is absorbed by the body and can cause copper depletion, which can cause neurological damage in extremities. The issue has spawned numerous lawsuits against not only P&G, but also GlaxoSmithKline, which sells Poligrip, although the drugmaker recently discontinued the use of zinc, which may limit its liability exposure (back story). Reviewers, of course, are not supposed to leak studies prior to publication, especially to the companies whose products are the subject of the analysis. And reviewers are also expected not to have ties to those same companies. "It is an outrage. This was wrong," David Rothman, a professor at Columbia University Medical School and president of the Institute on Medicine as a Profession, tells ABC. "That is a fundamental transgression of professional medical ethics and not to be allowed." For its part, Neurology issued this statement emphasizing that a "well-established and well-known policy" exists requiring authors and reviewers to disclose conflicts, and acknowledged that Shay did not do so, while also violating confidentiality by sharing the manuscript. The American Academy of Neurology, which publishes the journal, "considers any violation of these ethics policies to be egregious misconduct, and the Academy's general counsel is reviewing its options with the editors." At the same time, the journal blamed the publication delay was on "the time it took the authors to resubmit a revision," but that "the editorial office's review procedure was in line with standard timeframes." We have sought comment from Procter & Gamble, Shay and Sharon Nations, the University of Texas researcher who was the lead author on the study, and will update with you any responses.

  4. Only in 2011 after an FDA ruling did P&G finally update the FIXODENT label and issue a health warning to all consumers. thumbs down Instead GlaxoSmithKline who also used zinc in their denture adhesive totally removed it from their product, as far back as in 2010. Excerpt article below:

    It is the responsibility of those companies that manufacture the products we use to ensure that they are safe. But all too often, we discover that manufacturers put the safety of their consumers behind the relentless pursuit of profit. Proctor & Gamble's warning 2010 online is too little, too late. The company should follow GlaxoSmithKline's lead and remove zinc from all of its denture adhesive products. Until it does, denture wearers everywhere are still at risk...

  5. The above action evidently reflects another well advertised P&G dictum "We uphold the values and principles of P&G in every action and decision" though it would appear that more often than not, it needs well publicised legal actions / media coverage, or even FDA rulings before they finally decide to respond to important issues. thumbs down Over the years we can note these examples Fixodent / Olestra (unapproved for sale in many countries, including the European Union and Canada) / Rely tampons- 1980- excerpt article below:

    ...From the start of the crisis, Procter & Gamble acted defensively. When the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta started to investigate the link between Rely and toxic shock syndrome, Procter & Gamble began their own investigation which (surprise surprise) found no link. When the CDC published their findings, the link was backed up with comprehensive figures. But Procter & Gamble dismissed this research as ‘insufficient data in the hands of a bureaucracy.' However, by this time the company had started to realize it was fighting a losing battle and began to co-operate and look for a compromise solution. Procter & Gamble suggested a warning label be added to the product. But when the results of the CDC study were confirmed by an independent research firm, Procter & Gamble had little choice but to suspend sale of the product The withdrawal of Rely from the market was estimated to cost US $75 million. However, although Procter & Gamble initially made matters worse by denying responsibility, the company was now embarked on a damage limitation exercise...

  6. P&G apparently have approx. 127.000 employees. It would appear that they only employ "Yes Men" Taking into consideration the numerous persons who will have received the "The Famous Unanswered Letter" not one person in 5 years has thought to respond. Persons addressed range from the CEO A.G. Lafley / B. McDonald / P. Warren - Professional and Scientific Relations for P&G / Professional Oral Health / Health & Grooming Division / Corporate Governance / Executive Staff/ as well as numerous other persons apparently in leadership positions. This would indicate that they must all be trained to reason in the same way, Perhaps they are instructed never to acknowledge or answer correspondence, hoping that eventually the sender will tire and give up .Clearly P&G do not encourage independent thinkers.

    thumbs up

  7. This behaviour echoes that other P&G principle mentioned above "we always try and do the right thing". Doubtless the "Yes Men" will always confer with their superiors just to make sure that they are not about to do the wrong thing. After all no-one wants to lose a job or a bonus!!

    thumbs up

  8. Under the heading "Trust" P&G maintain that "we have confidence in each other's capabilities and intentions "Referring to "The Famous Unanswered Letter" does this mean that stonewalling was the intention or does it mean that every P&G person addressed is incapable of writing a letter.

    thumbs down

  9. P&G further declare "We have a healthy dissatisfaction with the status quo" Whereas most companies would respond to a letter that they have continued to receive for 5 years, P&G executives and staff etc. have certainly well proved their healthy dissatisfaction with the status quo with regard to correspondence.thumbs up

    On the contrary P&G appears to be satisfied with the status quo regarding their Superfloss packaging (unchanged in more than 30 years) to the point of total complacency. This is evidenced by their continued refusal to answer a letter which has raised important health concerns and which they have continued to receive for 5 years.thumbs down

  10. However perhaps their most interesting slogan comes under the heading "Leadership" whereby they emphasize the following "We have a clear vision of where we are going" With regard to the "Famous Unanswered letter" indeed P&G have a clear vision of where they are going and that's certainly not to the mail box!!!

    thumbs up

    Reading through the recent press it would seem that P&G have been faced with many issues which are highly inconsistent with their much advertised Purposes Values and Principles. Perhaps one of the most significant to date was the detergent price fixingscandal whilst A.G. Lafley was CEO. thumbs down The Fixodent episode also happened under Lafley’s much acclaimed administration. Evidently these scandals were of no consequence for either shareholders / Corporate Governance / prominent Hedge Fund Managers etc. as Lafley was happily brought back out of retirement (2010) as CEO in 2013...

    Despite Lafley’s famous mantra “Consumer is Boss” communicated to all P&G executives on his return as CEO in 2013, P&G have so far after 5 years refused to answer a letter concerning an important health issue. Clearly P&G have failed to take note of the many professionals and consumers who have voiced their concern. This also includes the FDA.They have repeatedly failed to respond to a letter and neglected to address a serious health question. This clearly shows that P&G do not listen to consumers. Furthermore, this instance basically confirms that their approach has little changed from the 1980's Obviously for P&G, it is easier to ignore a concern / say they have insufficient evidence / claim that the people, even if they are professionals, don’t understand the nature of the material they are writing about etc rather than acknowledge and resolve the problem...

    thumbs down

    After all judging by their past performance isn’t that what they have always done when faced with an uncomfortable issue... till it seems that the legals or media coverage or the FDA etc. decide to step maybe it is now time to take thumbs up time to Tweetie on Twitter so watch out

F.D.A Questions and Answers

1) The F.D.A classifies dental floss as a class 1 dental device

2) According to the F.D.A a class 1 device is a relatively low risk device.

3) Low risk indicates that the device cannot be considered risk free.

4) The OralB Superflosstm packaging is unhygienic and has remained unchanged in approx. 30 years -refer letter 15
th July 2008.

5) According to the F.D.A,Dr. Susan Runner, ( e-mail November 2010) in response to my concerns regarding the evident shortfalls of the cardboard box packaging, has advised “
that it would be quite appropriate for health care professional to provide their patients with appropriate use parameters, particularly for those patients who might be at risk.”

6) Still awaiting response from F.D.A. to specify which patients they consider to be particuarly at risk March 2012

Currently the F.D.A has not indicated that there is a need for additional regulatory input or for more stringent instructions relating to the safe removal / usage (home/ surgery) of the Superfloss threads

In view of this would the FDA now specify which patients they consider to be particularly “at risk” and for whom the health care professionals should predominantly provide appropriate use parameters Feb / March 2012

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

P&G's Values

P&G / Our Principles …..

We Show Respect for All Individuals
Not replying a letter for 3 years. Does P&G consider this showing respect?

P&G / Our Values ............

We respect our P&G colleagues, customers and consumers, and treat them as we want to be treated.
Not answering a letter for 3 years, is this the way P&G generally treat their colleagues customers and consumers……Is this the way P&G want to be treated?

We always try to do the right thing.
Not responding to a letter and ignoring all reminders, addressed to the CEO / Governance for as long as 3 years. Is this considered doing the right thing?

We operate within the letter and spirit of the law / We uphold the values and principles of P&G in every action and decision.
Is price fixing within the letter and spirit of the law ……..Note European Sentence April 2011 - P&G / Unilever. See world press releases April / May 2011

We develop superior understanding of consumers and their needs.
Not responding to the Dental Hygienist profession for 3 years .Does P&G consider this to be the right approach to develop superior understanding…………?

We create and deliver products, packaging and concepts that build winning brand equities.
The unhygienic cardboard box packaging of Oral B Superfloss has not changed in approx 30 years, does P&G consider this a winning and innovative strategy?

We are good corporate citizens.
Do good corporate citizens respond to letters addressed to them?

We incorporate sustainability into our products, packaging and operations?
Not listening to the Dental Hygienist profession / not responding to their queries over the safety of packaging unchanged in 30 years. Does P&G consider this adhering to their Principles / Values / Integrity/ policies?

15th July 2011

Congratulations Ag and Bob for stonewalling RJ Baher
A.G. & BOB……..
R.J. BAHER…………

on the 15th JULY 2008 and AFTER 3 YEARS

Sunday, 3 October 2010

However according to the Procter & Gamble Oral Care Product Safety Dept. June 16th 2008..............

N.B still awaiting response to letter dated 15th July 2008, 26 months ago!!

Monday, 12 July 2010

Selected Opinions Expressed by Colleagues 2010

“Wow 2 years on -2008-2010 - and P&G still haven’t answered a letter!!
Is this standard P&G company policy? “
U.S.A, Dental Hygienist July 2010

“Is it possible that a multinational such as P&G cannot see the shortfalls of the Superflosstm cardboard box packaging and after 2 years still cannot respond to a letter written in July 2008 “
British Dental Hygienist July 2010

“One must ask what sort of a company is P&G when they can overlook the hygiene problem concerning the Oral B Superflosstm cardboard box packaging unchanged in 30 years, and at the same time ignore the various queries put to them since July 2008.”
Australian Dental Hygienist July 2010

“As one of the major sponsors for IFDH meetings, - Canada July 2007 / Glasgow July 2010- it is surprising that P&G are unable to respond on an important issue concerning cross infection relating to the packaging of one of their products. It is even more surprising that they cannot respond to letters and numerous reminder faxes after 2 years!”
Canadian Dental Hygienist July 2010

“Looks to me like the dental floss packaging isn't the only thing they should be reviewing: their whole public relations policy is a sham if they won't respond to the very real concerns that members of the [hygienist] profession have about this product."

American Dental Hygienist July 2010

“Has anyone from P&G ever tried to pull out one thread from the Oral B cardboard box Superflosstm packaging. Maybe they should try it. It could be an enlightening experience”

Italian Dental Hygienist July 2010

"2 years and no response? Perhaps the CEO is working too hard - he should get rid of some of his workload - all those other directorships for example..."
British Dental Hygienist July 2010

“Maybe P&G do not employ enough staff to cope with all the queries, two years seems rather a long time to wait for an answer for a letter posted in 2008!”
Canadian Dental Hygienist July 2010

“What exactly do P&G Members on the Board of Governance do for their annual fees.”

New Zealand Dental Therapist July 2010

P&G state in their “Purpose, Values & Principles” under the section “Trust”
“We respect our P&G colleagues, customers and consumers and treat them as We want to be treated”
Yet P&G still have to acknowledge a letter from July 2008 !

American Dental Hygienist July 2010

“So how often does P&G review the packaging and labelling of products such as Oral B Superflosstm
Swiss Dental Hygienist July 2010

“Cannot believe that P&G cannot see the Oral B Superflosstm cardboard box packaging problem. It is so obvious ! “”

Swedish Dental Hygienist July 2010

“By today’s standards Oral B Superflosstm cardboard box packaging cannot be considered hygienic either for the dental office or for home and family use.”

Dutch Dental Hygienist July 2010