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FDA Finds Traces Of Asbestos In J&J Baby Powder, Company Recalls A Batch

FDA Finds Traces Of Asbestos In J&J Baby Powder, Company Recalls A Batch
Tiny amounts of asbestos contamination were found in samples from a single bottle that was purchased online of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder which has forced the company to recall one lot of its Johnson’s Baby Powder.
Voluntary recalling of a small batch, #22318RB, is being made by J&J and the company is also encouraging users to refrain from using the product from the lot for the time being. The lot comprises of 33,000 bottles of baby powder. An investigation is being done to identify how and when the product was contaminated following the revelation after a test was conducted by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with which the company is working closely for the same, J&J said.
Chrysotile fibers, a type of asbestos, was found in the contaminated bottle, said FDA spokeswoman Gloria Sanchez-Contreras. Consumers should immediately stop using the lot, said the FDA, and added that J&J should be contacted for a refund. The US agency also said in a statement that its tests for asbestos were found to be negative by another lot of Johnson’s Baby Powder.
The news caused the biggest drop in the shares of the company since December of 2018 at $127.70. Currently investigators are probing the company’s potential liabilities in a series of lawsuits related to talc and other products which has seen its stocks being under pressure for some time now.
“Thousands of tests over the past 40 years repeatedly confirm that our consumer talc products do not contain asbestos," J&J said in a statement on Friday.
Whether a false positive caused a cross-contamination of the sample is being looked into by J&J. it is also probing whether appropriate sealing of the product was done and whether the sealing was maintained in a controlled environment. It is also examining whether the sample that was tested was counterfeit or not.
Sanchez-Contreras said the FDA “stands by the quality of its testing and results and is not aware of any adverse events relating to exposure to the lot of affected products." Since 2018, tests for asbestos have been conducted on 50 cosmetic products by the FDA and it plans to publish all of the results by the end of this year.
No legal reserves would be set aside by the company against the more than 100,000 lawsuits it faces across its portfolio of drugs, consumer products and medical devices, said J&J’s Chief Financial Officer Joseph Wolk on a Tuesday conference call with investors. He said that the company would be fighting and wining many of the claims.
“The management team here will look at what a reasonable outcome could be for all stakeholders involved," Wolk said. “When products are safe, when they’re effective, we’re going to look to make sure that those products aren’t subject to what’s become unfortunately a big business model for plaintiff’s attorneys."
According to Bloomberg Intelligence, as much as $10 billion could be the cost that could be faced by the company because of Baby Powder-related liabilities.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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