The latest addition to the poster is Johnson and Johnson, which will pay $2.2 billion to the U.S. government to end civil and criminal investigations into kickbacks to pharmacists and the marketing of pharmaceuticals for off-label uses.
-- Pharma Marketing Blog (see here)
Johnson and Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky (on phone): Is Eric there, please?
Receptionist: May I ask who’s calling?
Gorsky: Alex Gorsky.
Receptionist: Did you say, “Alex” as in “Alexandra”?
Gorsky: Yes, but just plain Alex.
Receptionist: Please hold.
(A beat as Gorsky is placed on hold. Music is heard—the Clash’s rendition of “I Fought the Law.” After a minute or so . . .)
Attorney General Eric Holder: This is Eric.
Gorsky: Eric, it’s Alex Gorsky.
Holder: Alex. Hey. That’s weird. My assistant said there was a girl named Alexandra on the phone.
Gorsky: No just Alex! There are a lot of guys who are named Alex, O.K.?
Holder: Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees, right?
Holder: Yeah. We may be investigating him too. Just sayin’
Gorsky: So listen. I think we should meet.
Holder: What, like, for dinner?
Gorsky: No. For a business meeting.
Gorsky: Why? Would you ever want to have dinner?
Holder: It doesn’t have to be dinner. A walk would be nice. Maybe a coffee?
Gorsky: Both sound great. Let me tell you the reason I’m calling. A few of the guys over here—the board, for example—we’re a little concerned about some . . . money stuff. Like, that maybe you guys are still thinking of, uh, bringing charges against us.
Holder: Yeah, we’re definitely planning on doing that.
Gorsky: Huh. And this is something you feel strongly about?
Holder: Pretty strongly, yeah.
Gorsky: I see. And you have, like, evidence and stuff?
Holder: I can’t really talk about that, but yeah . . . like, boatloads.
Gorsky: Can I ask you a question? So you’re definitely suing us?
Holder: Can’t really talk about it.
Gorsky: How do you like being a lawyer?
Holder: I like it. But I can’t say I love it. You know?
Holder: Law school was a fallback. I had no idea what I wanted to do.
Gorsky: Same. No sane person becomes a pharmaceutical company CEO.
Holder: Is there a lot of science in your job?
Gorsky: So much. And I’m terrible at science.
Holder: I know.
Gorsky: Funny. What do you call twenty-five attorneys buried up to their chins in cement?
Holder: Here it comes . . .
Gorsky: Not enough cement.
Holder: You guys paid all the taxes on foreign profits, right?
(Both laugh really hard.)
Gorsky: Sure did. So listen, do you ever . . .
Gorsky: Do you ever . . . do you ever look out the window in the late afternoon and just get . . . sad? Like, for no reason?
Holder: Almost every day.
Gorsky: I’ll walk around the office some days and just see people crying at their desks for no outward reason.
Holder: Same here.
Gorsky: Total change of subject, but would you ever want to go camping?
Holder: That was weird, because you read my mind. I have a two-man tent and, like, fourteen canteens.
(Both laugh for a long time.)
Gorsky: Now, in terms of a fine . . .
Gorsky: I was talking with some of the guys here and we were thinking, like, a million maybe would be good.
Gorsky: Were you thinking that would be a good number?
Gorsky: Oh. What were you thinking, hypothetically?
Holder: Hypothetically? Not less than Two.
Gorsky: Two. And that . . . that would be as in million?
Holder: No, BILLION. As in two-point-two billion.
Gorsky: Of course. Because a two million . . . I mean, my Park Avenue apartment is worth more than that . . . Anyway. Wow. So two-point-two billion.
(A long beat.)
Gorsky: So you feel like we were . . . were very bad, the guys and me, at the pharma company here.
Holder: Pretty much, yeah.
Gorsky: Huh. That’s so weird, because we weren’t thinking that at all. We were thinking, you know, we made a lot of money and that was, like, good.
Holder: Interesting. I guess for me it’s how you made the money?
Gorsky: Not sure I understand. Why would that matter?
Holder: Well, over here it’s kind of the . . . what’s the word . . . the essence of the whole thing.
Gorsky: Like . . . rules and stuff.
Gorsky: Like that . . . what do you call it . . . Cosmic Law?
Holder: The federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act.
Gorsky: Yeah, that one. That’s funny, because we didn’t really take that very seriously, especially with regard to “off-label” drug promotion. We actually have a copy of it up on a wall and people kind of point at it and laugh, because, I mean, it’s just funny.
Holder: I think that’s where we differ a bit.
Gorsky: Interesting. O.K., then. Well . . . I should probably talk with some of the guys.
Holder: Talk with the guys.
Gorsky: Camping soon?
Holder: Can’t wait. Talk soon, Alex.
[This spoof is modified from a New Yorker magazine "Shouts & Mummers" piece by John Kennedy. In that piece, Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan’s chief executive, is on the phone with Eric Holder.]