Regulators in India are testing Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, following a stunning report that suggested the company has known for years that some of its talc contained traces of asbestos.
Yesterday, Johnson & Johnson confirmed that personnel from India’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) and some state-based food and drug administrations (FDAs) had visited its manufacturing plants in India.
“Today, a few of our facilities were visited by the CDSCO and local FDA authorities and we are fully co-operating with them by providing tests and samples,” Johnson & Johnson said in a statement.
“The characterization of these visits as “raids” or “seizures” is incorrect as has been reported in some instances. The tests have been conducted in the regular way that the FDA collects samples.”
According to Reuters, Johnson & Johnson has periodically tested talc for asbestos since the early 1970s. Although most of the tests found no trace of the cancer-causing mineral, a few detected miniscule amounts.
In 1971, scientists at Mt. Sinai Medical Center also found traces of asbestos in Baby Powder. Researchers at Rutgers University reported similar findings in 1991.
In 1972, a University of Minnesota researcher detected asbestos in a sample of Shower-to-Shower.
Tests conducted on behalf of talcum powder lawsuit plaintiffs have also found asbestos particles in Baby Powder.
Internal memos and other documents reviewed by Reuters suggest the findings worried many at Johnson & Johnson. Yet the company never warned regulators or consumers that asbestos could be lurking in Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower.
Although Johnson & Johnson vehemently denies that its talc contains asbestos, the Reuters report could not have come at a worse time for the company. That’s because it currently faces more than 10,000 talcum powder lawsuits that claim asbestos-tainted Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower caused plaintiffs’ cancer
Although Johnson & Johnson has prevailed in some Baby Powder asbestos trials, several juries have awarded multi-million dollar verdicts to plaintiffs.
Most recently, for example, a Missouri jury ordered the company to pay $4.7 billion in compensatory and punitive damages to 22 women with ovarian cancer, or their surviving loved ones.
Two recent juries have also found for mesothelioma plaintiffs, including a California case that concluded in May with a $25 million verdict. A month earlier, a New Jersey jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $117 million to another mesothelioma plaintiff.