Jan 29 (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic Senator Patty Murray sent a letter to Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday seeking information related to allegations in a Reuters Special Report that the healthcare company knew about the presence of asbestos in its talc-based baby powder.
The letter addressed to J&J Chief Executive Alex Gorsky asks for documents and information related to testing of its talc products for the presence of carcinogens and “how it presented that information to regulators and consumers.”
Reuters on Dec. 14 published a Special Report detailing that the company knew that the talc in its raw and finished powders sometimes tested positive for cancer-causing asbestos from the 1970s into the early 2000s – test results the company did not disclose to regulators or consumers.
Murray, the top Democrat on the Republican-controlled Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, referred to the Reuters report in her letter. It began, “I am troubled by recent reports of an alleged decades-long effort by Johnson & Johnson to potentially mislead regulators and consumers about the safety of one of its products, which may have resulted in long-term harm for men, women, and children who used Johnson & Johnson baby powder.”
J&J is facing more than 11,000 lawsuits alleging that use of its talc products, including baby powder, caused cancer.
Murray asked for documents to support the company’s claim that its current talc products do not contain any level of asbestos, documents on the testing of its talc products and communications with the Food and Drug Administration about the safety of its baby powder dating from 1966 to present.