Former NHL star Wayne Gretzky was working on his defence, Tuesday, deflecting some people's criticism of his decision to endorse Tylenol.

The attacks began last weekend, when Gretzky said he had the symptoms of early osteoarthritis.

He agreed to lead an awareness campaign about arthritis, which afflicts millions of Canadians.

But when critics found out Gretzky was being paid to promote Tylenol as a treatment, they accused him of doing more to help a pharmaceutical company sell drugs than to educate the public.

When asked by reporters if the endorsement has become a headache, Gretzky said he is happy with all of his business arrangements, including the Johnson & Johnson deal.

"Somewhere, somehow I try to link the companies I work ... for with charities as much as possible," Gretzky said.

"I'm proud of the fact that I can raise awareness for people who are uncomfortable (with arthritic pain). I have no regrets."

Osteoarthritis usually strikes people over 55. It causes intense pain when cartilage wears down, and bone begins rubbing against bone.

Gretzky retired from the NHL last spring.