Johnson & Johnson receives federal subpoenas related to baby powder litigation

(Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson mentioned Wednesday it has acquired subpoenas from the U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) related to litigation involving alleged asbestos contamination in its signature Baby Powder product line.

Bottles of Johnson’s baby powder are displayed in a retailer in New York City, U.S., January 22, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The firm mentioned it intends to “cooperate fully with these inquiries and will continue to defend the Company in the talc-related litigation.”

The disclosure in Johnson & Johnson’s annual report on Wednesday is the primary time that the corporate disclosed it had acquired subpoenas from federal companies concerning its talc powder merchandise.

The Justice Department declined to remark and the SEC didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

A Reuters report on Dec. 14 revealed that Johnson & Johnson knew for many years that small quantities of asbestos, a identified carcinogen, had been sometimes present in its talc and powder merchandise, in accordance to checks from the 1970s to the early 2000s – data it didn’t disclose to regulators or the general public. 


Johnson & Johnson knew for many years that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder

The Reuters article prompted a selloff in Johnson & Johnson shares, erasing about $40 billion from the corporate’s market worth in in the future, and a public relations disaster because the healthcare conglomerate confronted widespread questions in regards to the doable well being results of one in every of its most iconic merchandise. 

Johnson & Johnson mentioned that the federal inquiries “are related to news reports that included inaccurate statements and also withheld crucial information” that had already been made public.

The firm added that “decades of independent tests by regulators and the world’s leading labs prove Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder is safe and asbestos-free, and does not cause cancer.”

Johnson & Johnson faces lawsuits involving 13,000 plaintiffs who allege use of its talc merchandise, together with Baby Powder, triggered most cancers.

Last month, U.S. Democratic Senator Patty Murray despatched a letter to J&J Chief Executive Alex Gorsky looking for paperwork and data related to testing of its talc merchandise for the presence of carcinogens and “how it presented that information to regulators and consumers.”

Reporting by Chris Kirkham; Editing by Neil Fullick

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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