By Aditya Kalra
NEWDELHI (Reuters) – Indian drug inspectors have seized samples of Johnson & Johnson’s <JNJ.N> baby powder from a plant in a northern state, an industry source said on Wednesday, following a Reuters report the company knew for decades that cancer-causing asbestos lurked in the product.
The source, who declined to be named, said the samples were taken from the Baddi plant in Himachal Pradesh state on Tuesday night.
J&J India did not have any immediate comment on the reports of sample seizures by Indian authorities. On Tuesday the company said in a statement that the Reuters article, which was published on Friday, “is one-sided, false and inflammatory”.
“Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder is safe and asbestos free,” it added. “Studies of more than 100,000 men and women show that talc does not cause cancer or asbestos-related disease. Thousands of independent tests by regulators and the world’s leading labs prove our baby powder has never contained asbestos,” the company said.
Surendranath Sai, a drug officer in the southern Indian state of Telangana, said he was instructing drug inspectors to seize samples there.
“On the basis of the news reports we are alerting to pick up samples. We will test them in a drug control lab here,” said Sai. “We will take action accordingly. Certainly we are worried because millions of babies may be affected.”
(Writing by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)