J&J Has Known Its Baby Powder Contained Asbestos
A news report by Reuters has generated shock waves in the pharmaceutical industry and it says that Johnson & Johnson has known since the 1970s that its popular talcum Baby Powder products contained asbestos. The report reveals that the company did not openly communicate the results and sometimes, deliberately concealed this information both from consumers and the Food and Drug Administration, the federal agency that regulates these types of products.
The information Reuters examined came to light this past summer during a lawsuit when 22 women claimed the company’s Baby Powder caused their ovarian cancer. This resulted in a $4.7 billion verdict against the company. As a result of this lawsuit, company memos and documents revealing this deception were made public. The Reuters report tanked the company’s stock, which dropped 11 percent.
The Reuters article by Lisa Girion zeroes in on reports and testing J&J did in the 1970s both on its baby powder and Shower to Shower product, which was marketed to adults particularly to women for genital application. The article talks about how Johnson & Johnson misled consumers and the FDA even after scientists learned that asbestos is a carcinogen and traces of the substance were showing up in their talc samples.
J&J did not tell the FDA about a 1974 test by a professor at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire that turned up asbestos in talc from J&J. The company also failed to tell the FDA about a 1975 report from its lab that found asbestos fibers in five out of 17 samples. The private lab wrote in its cover letter that the asbestos content in some of the samples was “rather high.” J&J continued to insist that its products were safe despite trace amounts of asbestos. Lawsuit after lawsuit, as terminally-ill women took the stand and testified that their cancer was caused by decades of talc use, J&J’s representatives continued to defend their products.
The Need for Accountability
It is absolutely appalling J&J continues to defend its products, even posting a lengthy rebuttal on its website to the Reuters article calling it a “conspiracy theory.” The company still maintains that its baby powder is safe and asbestos free. As product defect lawyers who are representing victims of these dangerous talc products, we hope J&J is held accountable for its unethical business practices and for misleading federal regulators and consumers into believing that its talc products are safe. We will continue to fight for the rights of these affected individuals and families.