J&J faces reputation battle following recalls

As news about the Johnson & Johnson recall of children's drugs unfolds, media outlets are addressing everything from the company's reputation to what role a brand-name plays for consumers when they choose a product.

As news about the Johnson & Johnson recall of children's drugs unfolds, media outlets are addressing everything from the company's reputation to what role a brand-name plays for consumers when they choose a product.

The recall includes children's Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl, and Zyrtec. The company apologized for the recall and production has been halted at the factory under question, yet reports about the dust and grime at the plant continue to be published. The recall affects products sold in 12 countries, including the US.

An analyst told Bloomberg, “You've got a company that's considered one of the premier companies, that's spent something like 100 years building its reputation...This is the kind of thing that can hurt that.”

The New York Times writes:

Johnson & Johnson is considered a model in the consumer products industry for its fast and adept handling of a Tylenol scare in 1982 in which seven people in Chicago died after taking capsules that had been laced with cyanide. But, in that case, the problem was not the company's fault: an outsider had tampered with the capsules. No one has ever been charged.

Now, however, Johnson & Johnson and its McNeil unit may have more difficulty wooing customers back because the latest recalls stem from problems at company plants, industry analysts said. Johnson & Johnson will have to work to counter increasing consumer skepticism about whether they should pay more for name-brand children's medicines when there are lower-cost drugstore brands available, said Michael Braun, an assistant professor of marketing at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management.

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