We're getting a little closer to understanding how much Johnson & Johnson's (NYSE: JNJ) manufacturing problems are going to cost the health-care giant. The company said yesterday that the plant responsible for manufacturing the children's medicines that were recalled in late April will remain closed until the end of the year.

The plant, which makes about 40 different versions of children's medicines, produced drugs that brought in about $650 million annually in recent years. Johnson & Johnson's revenue last year topped $62 billion, so we're talking about a relatively small fraction of sales even if the plant has to stay closed for an entire year. Add in a few million to rectify the problems and maybe a few more employees to oversee operations, and we're still not talking about much of a hit to the bottom line. Protection is one of the joys of being diversified.

On the other hand, Perrigo (Nasdaq: PRGO), which is set to soak up the sales with its store-brand generics, will benefit greatly because it's a much smaller company. That's the joy of investing in smaller companies.

While the plant closure may not be a big problem for Johnson & Johnson directly, there's still the question of how much this will hurt Johnson & Johnson's brand long term. If the recall causes consumers or doctors to start questioning the quality of Johnson & Johnson's other products, the company could be in serious trouble. How many people are passing up the BP (NYSE: BP) station because of a rather costly mistake in the Gulf? I know people who still won't fill up at an ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) station, and the Alaskan oil spill was more than two decades ago.

While these hits are relatively small for the oil giants and J&J -- so far -- reputation is important. Johnson & Johnson managed its tainted Tylenol scare quite well, and the depressed price that it led to turned out to be an excellent time to buy. I think there's a good chance Johnson & Johnson can have a repeat performance, but take your lead from the company and don't put all your eggs in that basket.

Johnson & Johnson is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation and The Motley Fool Options newsletter has recommended buying calls on Johnson & Johnson. You can see why analysts made those calls and get their current thinking with a free 30-day trial. 

Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.