CVS Health Corp. isn’t taking any chances. The company is pulling all 22-ounce bottles of Johnson’s Baby Powder from its stores’ shelves and off its website after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week announced it found trace amounts of asbestos in one lot of J&J baby powder. Johnson & Johnson issued a recall of that lot – a move that affected about 33,000 bottles of Johnson’s Baby Powder. CVS took it one step further by removing all 22-ounce bottles of the product, regardless of its lot number.
“We took this step as a matter of precaution and to prevent customer confusion,” CVS spokesman Mike De Angelis told Bloomberg. CVS will leave all other Johnson’s Baby Powder products on its shelves.
The recall shook Johnson & Johnson, causing shares of the company to fall, and raising even more questions about the safety of the product. J&J has insisted its talcum powder products are safe and free of asbestos, vigorously defending itself against some 15,000 lawsuits that claim exposure to its talc-containing products can cause ovarian cancer and mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Many of the lawsuits allege Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products are contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen.
Still, J&J insisted its talc was safe even after reports surfaced that the company knew 40 years ago that its baby powder contained asbestos. The FDA’s findings could have a huge impact on talc litigation moving forward. Bloomberg Intelligence reported that Johnson & Johnson could shell out as much as $10 billion before the talc-asbestos issue is put to rest – a small fraction of what the company generates in revenue each year.
Beasley Allen lawyers Ted Meadows and Leigh O’Dell are heading up the team handling claims of ovarian cancer linked to talcum powder use for feminine hygiene. Sharon Zinns, who works in Beasley Allen’s Atlanta office, is leading a team handling mesothelioma claims. They are looking at cases of industrial, occupational and secondary asbestos exposure resulting in lung cancer or mesothelioma; as well as claims of asbestos-related talc products linked to mesothelioma.