Federal authorities have launched a criminal probe into whether pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson lied to the public about the possible cancer risks of its talcum powder, Bloomberg reported Friday, escalating a scandal plaguing the company for years as it faces several civil lawsuits from customers who claim that its Baby Powder was responsible for their ovarian cancer.
- A grand jury in Washington is looking at documents about whether J&J knew that its talcum powder products, such as its Baby Powder, contained carcinogens, according to Bloomberg.
- J&J has been sued more than 13,000 times for failing to inform customers that its talcum powder contained asbestos, which causes a form of cancer called mesothelioma.
- J&J’s stock was down more than 4% following the Bloomberg report.
The Justice Department declined to comment.
Ernie Knewitz, a J&J spokesman, said in a statement that the company already disclosed that it received subpoenas in February and that it is “full cooperating with the DOJ investigation.
“… Johnson’s Baby Powder does not contain asbestos or cause cancer, as supported by decades of independent clinical evidence. The implication that there has been a new development in this matter is flatly wrong,” Knewitz said.