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Johnson & Johnson Falls On Report Of Justice Department Probe

Jayson Derrick

Shares of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) were trading lower Friday after Bloomberg reported that the Justice Department has launched a criminal probe into the company.

What Happened

The investigation is focused on whether J&J deceived the public about the risk of cancer linked to its talcum powder, sources told Bloomberg.

A grand jury in Washington is examining documents that may shed light as to what company executives knew about the potential dangers of the talc powder, the report said.

The Justice Department didn't respond to Bloomberg's request for comment.

J&J spokeswoman Kim Montagnino told Bloomberg the company has been " fully cooperating" with government officials on previously disclosed investigations and "will continue to do so."

New $10M Verdict Against J&J

Patricia Schmitz, a dying California woman, said J&J and Colgate-Palmolive Company (NYSE: CL)'s talc-based products contributed to her rare cancer, Bloomberg also reported Friday.

The companies must pay Schmitz nearly $10 million, a jury said in a state court in Oakland. 

The verdict marks the 11th time since 2016 that Johnson & Johnson has lost a claim tied to its talc-based power.

Schmitz told a jury she applied J&J's Baby Powder or Colgate's Cashmere Bouquet after taking a shower for most of her life. The jury concluded that the powder was a cause of Schmitz's mesothelioma, a cancer linked to asbestos exposure.

Why It's Important

Jurors on Schmitz's case were shown "internal documents" from J&J that discussed the presence of asbestos in its baby powder, juror Carmen Best told Bloomberg.

J&J faces more than 14,000 claims that its products caused mesothelioma or ovarian cancer.

The company has asked a federal judge to move all cases to Delaware, as it faces lawsuits nationwide, Bloomberg said. 

J&J shares were down 4.14% at $134.30 at the time of publication Friday. 

Related Links:

Johnson & Johnson Wins New Trial In Talc Case

Johnson & Johnson To Pay 0M In Punitive Damages In Olson Talc Cancer Case

Photo by Mattman723/Wikimedia. 

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