(The AEGIS Alliance) – Reuters reported on Friday that Johnson & Johnson knew its talcum baby powder had asbestos in it for decades. The Reuters report caused J&J’s shares to drop over six percent today.
The deposition, trial testimony and documents were reviewed by Reuters that news outlets reported from 1971 to early 2000’s J&J company executives, mine managers, lawyers and doctors knew the company’s talcum and finished powders at times tested positive for small amounts of asbestos. Those who were involved had discussions about the problem but did not disclose it to the public or regulators, according to the examination by Reuters.
“Plaintiffs’ attorneys out for personal financial gain are distorting historical documents and intentionally creating confusion in the courtroom and in the media,” said the J&J’s vice president of global media relations, Ernie Knewitz, in an email to Reuters. “This is all a calculated attempt to distract from the fact that thousands of independent tests prove our talcum does not contain asbestos or cause cancer. Any suggestion that Johnson & Johnson knew or hid information about the safety of talcum is false.”
Reuters was referred to J&J’s outside lawyers, who were rejecting the findings, saying they were “false and misleading”
“The scientific consensus is that the talc used in talc-based body powders does not cause cancer, regardless of what is in that talc,” Peter Bicks said in an email to Reuters. “This is true even if — and it does not — Johnson & Johnson’s cosmetic talc had ever contained minute, undetectable amounts of asbestos.” He dismissed the tests cited in Reuter’s article as “outlier” results, Reuters stated.
J&J has faced a wave of lawsuits that allege its talcum baby powder products do have asbestos in them and have caused ovarian and other cancers. Some juries have been siding with J&J while other juries haven’t been able to reach verdicts. In July, a Missouri jury ordered J&J to pay $4.7 billion in a case that involved 22 women and their families. The verdict was affirmed by a judge in August and J&J vowed they will file an appeal.
Thousands of documents have been filed by J&J during court proceedings, however, most of them have been designated to be confidential.
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Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.