Early this month Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) CEO Alex Gorsky said that the company’s iconic baby powder and talc did not have asbestos. Grosky was testifying in a deposition on October 3 in a case in which an Indian college retired professor claimed that the powder caused cancer.
FDA finds asbestos contamination in Johnson & Johnson powder
The CEO insisted that they have conducted numerous tests and studies that ascertaining that the powder is asbestos-free. He asserted that he was not aware that talc or the baby powder had asbestos.
However in a turn of events 13 days after the deposition the FDA found traces of asbestos in a bottle of the baby powder. The regulator told the company that its iconic baby powder contained asbestos which is a known carcinogen. This makes it harder for the healthcare giant to continue insisting that their talc and baby powder are safe.
Following the revelation, the company recalled over 33,000 baby powder bottles in the US out of an abundance of caution. This is the first time Johnson & Johnson has recalled the baby powder on the possibility of containing asbestos.
Johnson & Johnson faces several lawsuits regarding its products
The recall dents the image of a company that has for years fronted an image of a caring company. J&J is currently facing several suits regarding its products including a large lawsuit involving over 15,000 people alleging that their talc powders gave them cancer.
Following the announcement of the recall, the company saw its shares plunge 6% on Friday. In February the US SEC and Department of Justice subpoenaed the company for documents regarding the asbestos contamination claims. The probe includes a grand jury inquiry into how forthright the company had been regarding the safety of the powders.
According to product liability expert Elizabeth Burch, the FDA findings will give credibility to what petitioners have been saying for months. The company still holds its position regarding its talc powder being clean and has indicated that it will investigate the FDA test results.