Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) reported its third quarter earnings earlier this week and the news was mixed. Overall, the company experienced growth, but J&J’s consumer products division declined.
The company has been in the spotlight over two baby powder cancer lawsuits earlier this year and one currently pending. The lawsuits have shown the company’s gross negligence in choosing profit over its customers’ safety, and it’s impacting their bottom line.
The consumer products division’s sales were down 1.6% compared to this time last year. The company has struggled to connect with a new generation of parents who are more concerned about what’s in products than ever before. More and more young parents turn to natural alternatives, and who can blame them? It wasn’t until last year that J&J finally completed the removal of formaldehyde from its baby products. Even when the company decided to remove formaldehyde, it wasn’t because J&J believed it posed a risk, but instead to “provide confidence and peace of mind to our customers.”
This “we know best” attitude isn’t going over well with consumers or juries. In the two previous baby powder cancer lawsuits this year, lawyers for the company tried to defend the safety of talcum powder and stress the company’s commitment to the consumer, but the argument fell on deaf ears. Both juries found the company failed to warn consumers of the cancer risk and awarded millions in damages to the plaintiffs. The fourth talcum powder trial could very easily lead to another huge win for plaintiffs; it is anticipated to continue for a few more weeks.
The company could try saving face with consumers by settling more than 3,500 baby powder lawsuits currently pending against J&J, but for many consumers, the damage has already been done.