Killer company J&J boycott all products

NEW DELHI/ LOS ANGELES (US) – Pressure was mounting on Johnson & Johnson and its signature Baby Powder.
In 2006, an arm of the World Health Organization began classifying cosmetic talc such as Baby Powder as “possibly carcinogenic” when women used it as a genital antiperspirant and deodorant, as many had been doing for years. Talc supplier Luzenac America Inc started including that information on its shipments to J&J and other customers.
J&J, meanwhile, looked for ways to sell more Baby Powder to two key groups of longtime users: African-American and overweight women. The “right place” to focus, according to a 2006 internal J&J marketing presentation, was “under developed geographical areas with hot weather, and higher AA population,” the “AA” referring to African-Americans.
“Powder is still considered a relevant product among AA consumers,” the presentation said. “This could be an opportunity.”
In the following years, J&J turned those proposals into action, internal company documents show. It distributed Baby Powder samples through churches and beauty salons in African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods, ran digital and print promotions with weight-loss and wellness company Weight Watchers and launched a $300,000 radio advertising campaign in a half-dozen markets aiming to reach “curvy Southern women 18-49 skewing African American.”
These are only some of the more recent examples of J&J’s decades-long efforts to offset declining Baby Powder sales amid rising concern about the health effects of talc, based on a Reuters review of years of J&J print, radio and digital advertising campaigns and thousands of pages of internal marketing documents and email correspondence.
Adults have been the main users of Johnson’s Baby Powder since at least the 1970s, after pediatricians started warning of the danger to infants of inhaling talc. As adults became ever more crucial to the brand – accounting for 91 percent of Baby Powder use by the mid-2000s – J&J honed its powder pitches to court a variety of targeted markets, from teen-focused ads touting the product’s “fresh and natural” qualities, to promotions aimed at older minority and overweight women.
Today, women who fall into those categories make up a large number of the 13,000 plaintiffs alleging that J&J’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, a powder brand the company sold off in 2012, caused their ovarian cancer or mesothelioma.
Many of the ovarian cancer lawsuits have blamed the disease on perineal use of J&J cosmetic talcs – a claim supported by some studies showing an association between such use and increased cancer risk. The most recent cases have alleged that J&J’s talc products contained asbestos, long a known carcinogen.
In an investigation published Dec. 14, Reuters revealed that J&J knew for decades that small amounts of asbestos had occasionally been found in its raw talc and in Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, based on test results from the early 1970s to the early 2000s – information it did not disclose to regulators or the public.
J&J challenged the findings of the Reuters report, describing them as inaccurate and misleading.
Krystal Kim, a 53-year-old African-American, was one of 22 plaintiffs whose case in St. Louis resulted in a jury verdict last summer of $4.69 billion against J&J. Kim said Baby Powder and Shower to Shower were household staples among her family and friends when she was growing up in New Jersey. Kim played baseball as a teenager, she said, and her mother told her to apply Baby Powder to avoid being “the stinky girl.”
(Agency News)