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Johnson’s baby powder itching its brand image

Johnson & Johnson (J&J), which is synonymous with baby care products, may land in a situation similar to Nestle as the quality of its most famous product has coming under the scanner.

business Updated: Mar 04, 2016 11:25 IST
Himani Chandna
Reuters reported that J&J, the world’s biggest maker of health care products, was found liable for fraud, negligence and conspiracy in an American civil suit last week.
Reuters reported that J&J, the world’s biggest maker of health care products, was found liable for fraud, negligence and conspiracy in an American civil suit last week.

Johnson & Johnson (J&J), which is synonymous with baby care products, may land in a situation similar to Nestle as the quality of its most famous product has coming under the scanner.

Concerns are pouring in on social media from India and abroad blaming J&J of betraying their trust after a 62-year old American woman died of Ovarian cancer linked to the sustained use of the powder.

Reuters reported that J&J, the world’s biggest maker of health care products, was found liable for fraud, negligence and conspiracy in an American civil suit last week. The jury ordered the company to pay $72 million in damages to the family of the woman.

But J&J seems to disagree with the allegations. “The recent jury outcome goes against decades of sound science proving the safety of talc as a cosmetic ingredient in multiple products. We strongly disagree with the outcome,” J&J spokesperson replied to an e-mail sent by HT.

The company sent out two links to its blog in reply to questions sent by HT. Interestingly, the introduction of the blog reads ‘Everyone else is talking about our company, so why can’t we?’ It goes on to explain facts over talc safety.

About 40 anxious consumers have responded under the blog which was posted by J&J on February 24.

Bijay J Anand (@bijayanand) wrote on Twitter: “Stop using chemicals on ur Body. Johnson and Johnson powder causes cancer”.

“I’ve been using Johnson and Johnson powder since I was born. I’m terrified now to use the talc despite these assurances. On a personal note, I feel deeply betrayed by this company which I associated with care and comfort,” read a post by a user under the headline ‘Looking for alternatives’. The comments policy clearly states that the comments will be reviewed before posting.

Another J&J’s product user, Scott M, wrote on the company’s blog, ‘Please explain how or why you believe J&J lost this lawsuit?’

J&J still claims that the products are safe to use. “Our confidence in using talc reflects more than 30 years of research by independent scientists, review boards and global authorities, which have concluded that talc can be used safely in personal care products,” the spokesperson said.