Johnson & Johnson has been linked to a women’s death by cancer, allegedly caused by the company’s Talc based baby powder. There are some 1200 other people lining up to make similar claims.
It’s also alleged that J&J knew about the health hazards from this product a long time ago and did nothing about it. I was especially keen to know about this case as I used talc-powder every day as a kid, until the age of 16 years old. After all, if it’s called ‘baby-powder’ it must be safe, right?
If you use big brand ‘health’ products, it’s worth remembering that profits and health are two outcomes that rarely align. In most businesses of the J&J scale, stock value and the bottom line come before anything else. It costs fortunes to establish a product in the market place, and rarely should a snafu like cancer implications get in the way of making that cost back.
What a shame that J&J and similar companies (anyone heard of Monsanto?) don’t use two simple bench marks before offering a product to market,
- First provide it for the intended period of use to yourself, your kids and the people you love most.
- Make your claims, promises and guarantees under the assumption that one-day, in front of the whole world (and the evidence it has at hand) you will be called upon to stand by those claims and be judged for telling the truth.
I think these two decision ‘frames’ are useful for every sane person on the planet, especially when we’re faced with choices behind closed doors.
Though I mostly agree with Shakespeare’s claim that, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”, some companies might do well to think a little longer on the good and bad choices they make.