Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson is currently under fire as the subject of thousands of lawsuits involving defective products, including both their metal-on-metal hip implant systems and vaginal mesh. But it seems that is not their only problem. The Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (“MFDA”) has suspended Johnson & Johnson’s license to manufacture cosmetic products at their plant in Mulund, as a result of finding carcinogenic substances in their baby powder.
In a case dating back to 2007, investigations revealed that a step in the process used to make the baby powder included the use of ethylene oxide, a known carcinogen, for sterilization. Tests were not conducted to ensure that all traces were gone, leaving ethylene oxide residue in fifteen batches of the powder. This process involving ethylene oxide was not authorized by the MFDA.
The Maharashtra FDA is India’s counterpart to the United States Food and Drug Administration. This action suspended the license of Johnson & Johnson from producing cosmetics only at a plant in Mulund, a suburb of Mumbai. Though this action does not prohibit the sale of cosmetic products in the U.S. and other countries, this serves as yet another example of Johnson & Johnson failing to disclose important information about the substantial risks that many of their products pose.
Johnson & Johnson has faced multiple verdicts against them in the past six months in relation to claims such as this. In January, a verdict was reached against Johnson & Johnson for their failure to warn of the risks of their vaginal mesh product and the resulting injuries it caused. This was followed by a verdict in March for injuries caused by the defective DePuy ASR hip implant system. These trials are representative of thousands of lawsuits across the country filed against the company, with the number expected to increase over time.
Johnson & Johnson has not only continued to manufacture multiple products that have proven dangerous to the consumers, but have also to failed to provide vital information about the product to both government agencies and consumers, earning them a spot in our Hall of Shame.