The Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating Johnson & Johnson over issues about attainable asbestos contamination of its standard child powder and different talc-based merchandise, the corporate mentioned Wednesday.
In a securities filing, Johnson & Johnson mentioned it was “cooperating with these government inquiries and will be producing documents in response” to subpoeanas it had obtained. In a separate assertion, the corporate mentioned that “the inquiries are related to news reports” in regards to the welter of lawsuits it faces from customers who declare its talc merchandise induced cancers.
The New York Times and Reuters reported in December on inside paperwork that confirmed a long time of communications inside the firm in regards to the threat of asbestos in its talc merchandise whilst Johnson & Johnson fought to maintain adverse data out of the general public eye.
In the times after the stories had been printed, the corporate’s inventory sank greater than 12 p.c. It had not totally regained the losses as of Wednesday.
Johnson & Johnson, which faces round 13,000 lawsuits wherein its physique powders are blamed for causing ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, has stood by the safety of its products. It mentioned on Wednesday 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.”
Some of the talc fits have gone to trial. Johnson & Johnson, which is predicated in New Brunswick, N.J., has prevailed in some instances and succeeded in overturning verdicts in others. It has appealed a number of judgments, together with one from July wherein a jury awarded $4.7 billion to 22 ovarian most cancers sufferers and their relations.
Last week, Imerys Talc America, a significant provider of talc utilized by Johnson & Johnson and a defendant in among the lawsuits, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The firm mentioned that though the fits difficult talc’s security had been “entirely without merit,” it didn’t wish to “litigate these claims in perpetuity and incur millions of dollars in projected legal costs to defend these cases.”
Johnson & Johnson additionally famous in its regulatory submitting that Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, had requested for details about the extent of the corporate’s data about potential asbestos in its talc merchandise.
The Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark. The subpoenas had been first reported by The Wall Street Journal.