NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson Inc’s statement was unequivocal.
“The FDA has tested Johnson’s talc since the ’70s. Every single time it did not contain asbestos,” the company said in a Dec. 19 tweet. It followed by several days the publication of a Reuters investigation (https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/johnsonandjohnson-cancer/
) that found the healthcare conglomerate knew for decades that the carcinogen lurked in its Baby Powder and other cosmetic talc products.
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The tweet, posted under the handle @JNJNews
, didn’t mention that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found traces of asbestos in the company’s Shower to Shower talc in 1973, as revealed in agency documents https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5669405-2017-J-J-witness-on-FDA-finding-asbestos-in.html
reviewed by Reuters. And it is only one of dozens of tweets conveying a similar message about talc safety since the Reuters article appeared Dec. 14.
The Reuters article prompted a stock selloff that erased about $40 billion from J&J’s market value in one day and created a public relations crisis as the blue-chip healthcare conglomerate faced widespread questions about the possible health effects of one of its most iconic products.
Investors - Consumers - J - J - Facebook
To reassure investors and consumers, J&J has tweeted, posted on Facebook, run a series of full-page newspaper ads across the United States, published a lengthy rebuttal to the Reuters investigation on its website and announced a $5 billion stock buyback. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alex Gorsky has appeared in a company video and on CNBC’s “Mad Money” to reinforce the company’s position.
That position has been unwavering. J&J insists that its Baby Powder is safe and has been asbestos-free at least since regular testing began in the 1970s. The message doubles down on the stance the company has taken to defend against lawsuits in which about 11,700 plaintiffs allege that the J&J talc they used in past decades caused their cancer. The company is pursuing this strategy...
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