Johnson is allowed to make powder, not for sale:

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday allowed Johnson & Johnson (J&J) to manufacture its baby powder at its Mulund plant in Maharashtra at its own risk. However, the company will not be able to distribute and sell it at the moment. The State Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned it. A bench of Justice SV Gangapurwala and Justice SG Dige is hearing the matter.

The High Court also ordered re-testing of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder samples, which is to be completed within two weeks. FDA will have to take these samples and give them to two government laboratories and one private laboratory for re-testing. The court is currently hearing the company’s plea challenging the government order canceling its baby powder manufacturing license.

The government had canceled the licensing government had canceled the company’s license citing ‘public interest’ following a report by the FDA. The report found that the sample of baby powder manufactured at the company’s Mulund plant was ‘not of standard quality. The FDA canceled the company’s license on September 15 and later directed the company to recall the stock of the product from the market.

Samples were taken for quality check in 2018In December 2018, during a surprise inspection, the FDA took samples of J&J’s talc-based baby powder from Pune and Nashik for quality checks. The sample manufactured at the Mulund plant was declared ‘not of standard quality. The test results in 2019 stated that ‘the sample does not comply with IS 5339:2004 (Second Revision Amendment No. 3) specification for skin powder for infants in test pH’.

Later, the company was served a show cause notice under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, of 1940. But the company challenged the result and demanded a re-test, which was then sent to the Central Drug Testing Laboratory (CDTL), Kolkata. The Maharashtra government, in its reply, told the High Court that the health and welfare of the consumer are of paramount importance.

The state government had claimed that it would be a major failure on its part if it failed to implement the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and the rules prescribing safeguards for the health of the people.

J&J stopped selling baby talcum powder in the past, Johnson & Johnson had said that by 2023 it would stop selling its baby talcum powder all over the world. J&J’s talcum powder has been discontinued in the US and Canada in 2020. Now the company will sell corn starch based powder instead of talc-based powder.

Actually, claims have been made all over the world that there is a risk of cancer due to the use of this baby powder. There was also a huge decline in the sales of the product after reports of cancer apprehensions surfaced. Although the company always called this powder safe.

J&J had said ‘after assessing its portfolio, it has taken the commercial decision to make all its baby powder products using cornstarch instead of talcum powder.’ The firm had said that cornstarch-based baby powder is already being sold in many countries of the world.

Johnson & Johnson manufactures its products in more than 60 countries while it has about 250 subsidiaries. Its products are sold in more than 175 countries. Its competition in India is from brands like Dabur, Hindustan Unilever, and Himalaya.

Cancer risk from talc

There have been allegations of cancer risk from talc. Actually, from where talc is mined, asbestos also comes out from there. Asbestos is also a naturally occurring silicate mineral. It harms the body. When talc is mined, there is a danger of getting asbestos in it.


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