Johnson & Johnson announced that it will purchase the hair care line Vogue International for $3.3 billion in an effort to expand its hold on health and beauty products. This is a big move for J&J considering it has lost a substantial amount of trust from consumers after studies confirming the link between its talcum powder products and ovarian cancer. With two multimillion dollar verdicts so far this year and with two more trials to go, will this acquisition help J&J get back on track?
While J&J was considered one of the most trusted brands in America, a variety of recent lawsuits have put a spotlight on the company’s less than honest practices. In 2012, J&J agreed to pay a hefty $2.2 billion dollar fine for improperly marketing the antipsychotic medication Risperdal to young boys and the elderly and failing to warn consumers of dangerous side effects. Risperdal was never approved for use in children or the elderly suffering from dementia, and marketing efforts led to many young boys developing breast tissue in a condition called gynecomastia and caused strokes in the elderly.
The talcum powder trials have also brought to light internal company documents that suggest J&J knew about the increased risk of ovarian cancer with its products, and specifically targeted African American and Latino women anyway because they have a high prevalence of use.
While J&J shows no signs of slowing down, it is unclear how these current lawsuits will affect the company in the near future. Many of the company’s best brands like Band-Aid and Tylenol have not seen impacted growth, likely because consumers are not aware that these are J&J brands, but only time will tell if J&J can rebuild trust with consumers through its new brand, Vogue International.