J&J faces US criminal probe related to baby powder

NEW YORK: The US Justice Department is pursuing a criminal probe into whether Johnson & Johnson lied about potential cancer risks of its talcum powder and has convened a grand jury in Washington, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The Bloomberg report said the grand jury was looking into documents related to what company officials knew about any carcinogens in their products. J&J disclosed in its annual report in February that it had received subpoenas from the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission related to the ongoing baby powder litigation but did not give more details.

The company said in a statement emailed to Reuters on Friday that there had been no new developments in the matter. “As we previously disclosed in our February 2019 SEC filing, we have received a subpoena from the US Department of Justice. We are fully cooperating with the DOJ investigation,” spokesman Ernie Knewitz said in an emailed statement. The Justice Department declined to comment. Shares of the company fell 5 per cent to $133.02 following the report. Johnson & Johnson faces lawsuits involving over 14,000 plaintiffs who allege use of its talc products, including Baby Powder, caused cancer. — Reuters