Johnson & Johnson Chose The Scientists That Studied Asbestos In Talc And Manipulated The Final Results To The FDA
Emails once again show that Johnson & Johnson would have done anything to make sure the EPA never found asbestos in talc or required a warning label
Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - Bloomberg is reporting that emails recently revealed during a Mississippi Johnson's Baby Powder ovarian cancer trial show that Johnson & Johnson has used some less than above-board tactics to avoid having to place a talcum powder cancer warning label on bottles of Johnson's Baby Powder for more than the last forty years after it was learned that asbestos contaminated their talc supply. The company interfered with studies into whether or not talc, the main ingredient in baby powder could cause ovarian cancer for women who used the product every day for the long term, for feminine hygiene. The emails show that the company exerted their influence on the Personal Care Product Council to select certain scientists that were biased towards the company to do the research and write the final reports about talc causing cancer. The FDA relied on the findings and for more than four decades failed to require the company to place a cancer warning label on Johnson's baby powder and Shower to Shower bath products. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, "The emails -- unsealed in the state of Mississippi's lawsuit against J&J over its refusal to add a safety warning -- show J&J and its talc supplier chose the scientists hired by their trade association, the Personal Care Products Council, to write the 2009 report assessing talc-based powder's health risks." The report continues to tell readers that while it is not illegal to try and exert influence by lobbying regulators, it is highly unethical to lie by omission and to misrepresent talc asbestos tests to the government as being conducted by independent third-party scientists when they were neither.
Other company communications revealed at previous trials portend to show that executives at Johnson & Johnson redirected their marketing and directly targeted African American women when they found asbestos in their talc, thinking that they were a less informed demographic. Johnson & Johnson has discontinued selling Johnson's Baby Powder in North America citing slow sales due to the publicity surrounding dozens of lawsuits that have awarded women with ovarian cancer billions of dollars in punitive damages. The large jury awards are in part due to plaintiff descriptions of the company's reprehensible behavior in exerting influence on the FDA to keep a cancer warning label off of talcum powder and to make sure only substandard testing methods were used when testing talc for asbestos. At one time Johnson & Johnson recommended that the FDA set 1% as an allowable percentage of asbestos in talc even though experts know that there is no acceptable amount of asbestos for human consumption and that even the tiniest amount could lead to cancer ten or twenty years down the road. Johnson & Johnson has chosen the legal strategy of setting up a shell company in which to place its talc business, along with $2 billion in cash to settle more than 39,000 talcum powder cancer lawsuits infuriating the plaintiffs' bar and their clients. Women with ovarian cancer may have less than five years to live after their diagnosis and could be inclined to accept a fast but inadequate settlement if the bankruptcy court allows the spinoff.