Johnson & Johnson has never made a vaccine, but since entering the pharmaceutical market in 1959, the company has made a lot of headlines and been fined billions for bad behavior. For decades, according to an October 2019 article in The Guardian, “consumers worldwide have named the $347 billion pharmaceutical behemoth Johnson & Johnson (J&J) as one of its most trusted brands.”
From its humble beginnings in the 1880s, making cotton gauze dressings and eventually band aids, baby powder and shampoo, J&J has expanded into one of the most powerful multinational pharmaceutical and medical device companies in the world.
In 1959, J&J entered the world of Big Pharma as a leading player after succeeding in getting Tylenol approved as an over-the-counter drug. Shortly thereafter, J&J commenced with a flurry of acquisitions to increase its product line, which included Neutrogena, Cordis, DePuy, Janssen Pharmaceutica and Centocor. Today, in most American home medicine cabinets one will find a popular J&J product: Listerine, Tylenol and Benadryl, Neutrogena skin cream, Rogaine, Neosporin antibacterial ointment or Destin to treat diaper rashes.
Now people are eager for J&J’s “one shot and you’re done” COVID-19 vaccine despite health officials’ fears it may be less effective than Moderna’s and Pfizer’s mRNA competitors.