…company says own research reveals no asbestos
Andreas Saldivar, a laboratory expert hired by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says his findings revealed asbestos in Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Baby powder.
Saldivar operates AMA Analytical Services Inc, a private lab in Maryland, United States. He conducted the research under a contract with the FDA.
Reports, also revealed the same expert has on occasions testified for J&J since 2017 notably in cases where the company needed to defend itself against suit that asbestos in its product caused the plaintiffs cancer.
Saldivar in a May 2018 case testified the testing he did in 2010 for the FDA showed there was no evidence of asbestos in Johnson’s Baby Powder. This significantly contributed to the company’s argument of being safe for consumer use, according to Reuters report.
When his lab tested the products this year, he reportedly found asbestos in them in September.
In response to the report, J&J said it has hired 15 other labs to examine the Baby Powder product and they all found no asbestos.
The case against J&J can be seen as a two-way thing ― while both ways can be well-argued.
Disputing Saldivar report will mean J&J does not trust the judgement of an expert it trusted enough to allow sit in the box to testify in cases, some years back.
Also, looking at it from another perspective, it could be interpreted that the FDA trust the judgement of a single expert more than that of collective reports by many experts.
Commenting on the report, Richard Ausness, a University of Kentucky law professor who specialises in product liability told Reuters he is nothing but surprised at the dual roles played by Saldivar.
“I have never heard of anything like this,” Ausness said.
“This is bad news for J&J. The plaintiffs are clearly going to say this lab director worked for J&J for years, and he found asbestos so there must be asbestos there,” he added.
The FDA said it will be standing by the report of Saldivar’s lab. Commenting on the otherwise report of J&J, FDA officials were reported by Reuters to have said they are not surprised by J&J’s findings.
FDA claimed contaminants are not uniformly dispersed throughout talc and different testing methods can yield varying results.
The new findings may be a hard blow for J&J’s pending cases. The company is reportedly facing lawsuits from more than 16,000 people alleging asbestos in its powders caused cancer.
A jury in 2018 was reported by CBS News to have awarded $4.7 billion in total damages to 22 women and their families after they claimed asbestos in the talcum powder contributed to their ovarian cancer.
The company also recalled 33,000 bottles of Baby Powder after regulators found trace amounts of asbestos in a single bottle purchase online. J&J has also defended this that none of the recalled bottles contains asbestos deducing from the result of 48 different labs test.