MUMBAI: Almost a week after a US jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a compensation of $72 million to the family of a woman who won a legal battle against the company, the Maharashtra Food and Drugs Administration on Wednesday sent samples of the cosmetic giant’s product Baby Powder for laboratory testing.
FDA Commissioner Harshdeep Kamble said, “We have collected the samples of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and sent them for laboratory tests. This is a precautionary measure after the US incident. We also have held talks with the company’s officials.”
The FDA action has initiated a fresh debate on quality of the baby powder. Interestingly, Maharashtra had banned the product in 2012 after the FDA investigation revealed that the company used ethylene oxide, a substance used to produce industrial chemicals and to sterilise medical equipment, to kill bacteria in Baby Powder and had not conducted mandatory tests to make sure there were no remaining trace in the powder.
It is mandatory for a company to inform the FDA on what process they are going to adopt for sterilisation. J&J had not informed that they were going to sterilise the Baby Powder using ethylene oxide, which can cause cancer.
The Bombay High Court had lifted the ban in 2013 and allowed the company to resume the production. A US jury had ordered Johnson & Johnson on March 2 to pay $72 million to the family of a woman who claimed her death was linked to use of the Baby Powder she used for decades. Jackie Fox, 62, had died of ovarian cancer in 2015. Her family had argued in the court that the company knew of talc risks, but failed to warn users.