The US Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation of Johnson & Johnson to discover whether the company has been lying to the public about the safety of its talcum powder products.
According to Bloomberg, consumers have filed more than 14,000 lawsuits against J&J, claiming the company’s talc products caused their ovarian cancer or mesothelioma. Over the past three years, jurors have awarded a total of more than $5 billion to people who blame the powders for their cancers.
Despite the alarming number of lawsuits, J&J claims that their products are safe. The company says they have performed safety tests of its Baby Powder over many decades and have found no presence of asbestos.
A grand jury in Washington is looking at documents to determine whether J&J knew that its talcum powder products, such as its Baby Powder, contained carcinogens.
Internal memos from previous lawsuits against the company dating as far back as the 1960s and ’70s have been uncovered and appear to prove J&J’s knowledge of risks associated with talc-based products. They contain warnings from company scientists that asbestos detected in J&J’s talc was a “severe health hazard” that could pose a legal risk for the company.
According to Bloomberg, nearly a dozen juries have concluded that J&J knew that some of their Baby Powder and former Shower-to-Shower products had at least trace amounts of asbestos and failed to disclose that to consumers.
In February, the Justice Department, the SEC, and the top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions requested further documents to discover how much the company knew about the asbestos in its talc-based products.
J&J is cooperating with government inquiries and will produce documents in response. No charges have been made.
J&J still claims that its Baby Powder does not contain asbestos or cause cancer.
If you believe you believe exposure to talcum powder has contributed to a serious injury or illness, contact Thomas J. Henry. Defective product lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your claim. Our firm has offices in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Austin, and Houston, serving clients across Texas and nationwide. Call us today for a free legal consultation.