Johnson & Johnson wins Fortune World’s Most Admired Company recognition even as it continues in the eye of a storm
Over the past few weeks, the media has been rife with reports of talc causing ovarian cancer. In India, central authorities have asked Johnson & Johnson not to use the raw material stocks at two factories manufacturing their powder, until the same has been tested by them. A few months earlier, cancer victims in the United States had been granted a $4.7 Billion compensation, by a US Court. The Court concurred with the allegations that Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products have caused the disease.
Why this talk about talc?
There are two angles to the debate about talc and disease. One is that talc by itself could be carcinogenic. Some tests seem to point to this. But there are other research reports of talc being benign.
The other angle and the more alarming is the presence of asbestos in the Talc products. Asbestos has long been known as a carcinogenic. It is also often seen contaminating talc deposits. Hence the danger to users.
J&J has been denying both the above possibilities. However, no less a respected entity than Reuters, has laid bare documents which may show that not all has been fair in J&J’s talk on talc. Chilling to note that many users across the world and back home in India, would be using talcum powder.
Comparison with Big Tobacco may sound churlish, but…
Consumers Beware. A Corporate Entity may show great Corporate Governance processes and even win laurels for the same. But that could still be mere application of powder (maybe talc or otherwise) to hide the diseased skin. More often than not a naturally healthy skin is a reflection of good body health. We have seen instances of the Spiritual Core being absent. But we also see many business entities evolving. We need stronger validation systems to ensure this process is encouraged and the wolves in sheep’s clothing are shamed. It may sound churlish to point out now, but Big Tobacco for years tried to mislead the authorities and the public.
‘Spiritual’ Healing as a Brand-Aid ?
Johnson & Johnson used to be a respected name. One, which was earlier associated with the largehearted Tylenol recall. It is sad that a few months earlier, J&J was slapped by the Indian authorities for selling faulty hip replacement kits. The largest pharma company, maybe needs to infuse some Spirituality even as it dabbles in Allopathy. A Business Bandit is the last thing one would wish to see the maker of one’s childhood ‘BAND-AID'(TM) as. In this age of Reasoning increasingly influenced by Spiritual Meaning, corporations cannot afford to be Carefree. Not only do they need to be Careful, they also need to sincerely Care.
Ancient Indians advocated regular cleansing of the mind, body and spirit. While external beauty artifices were available, they believed in regular drinking various kinds of ‘Kashayam‘ to keep the system healthy. In Corporate parlance, partaking of ‘Kashayam’ would mean rigourously implementing ethically sound practices . Powder may always be applied topically, but cannot compensate for ‘Kashayam’.