A federal grand jury in Washington is investigating what Johnson & Johnson officials knew about the cancer risks associated with the company's Baby Powder brand talcum powder and other products, according to a report.
The New Jersey-based company is under criminal investigation by the US Department of Justice as well as a regulatory investigation into allegations from thousands of cancer patients that J & J products have played a role in their disease, reported Bloomberg last week.
The company faces more than 14,000 lawsuits alleging that J & J's talc products have caused ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, an asbestos-related problem, the report said.
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At the same time, a spokeswoman for J & J told Bloomberg that the company "cooperated fully" with the judicial investigation. She also denied that the company's baby powder contains asbestos or cancer, and said the company's position was "backed by decades of independent clinical evidence."
But in recent years, nearly a dozen juries have concluded that J & J knew that some of its baby powder and shower shower products contained asbestos and did not put this information available to consumers, the report said. Such cases have cost J & J more than $ 5 billion in payments to complainants, the report says.
Since then, J & J has sold the Shower-to-Shower brand to another company that has an agreement with J & J protecting it from any brand-related asbestos litigation, according to Bloomberg.
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In March, a California jury awarded $ 29 million to a woman who claimed that J & J products caused her terminal cancer.
Last December, J & J's shares suffered their worst loss in 16 years after Reuters announced that the company had known about asbestos content for decades. The company has strongly denied the truth of the Reuters report.
Associated Press contributed to this report.