Johnson & Johnson Stock Plummets Amid Federal Subpoena on Alleged Asbestos

Thousands are claiming the company's products have caused their cancers.

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The Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating Johnson & Johnson over concerns the company’s baby powder may have contained asbestos.

The agencies subpoenaed the health care product maker after a number of jury awards were granted to the plaintiffs in lawsuits against the company, USA Today reported. Amid the news of the subpoena, shares of Johnson & Johnson fell by about 1.5% to open the day on Thursday.

Nearly 13,000 more plaintiffs who claimed the company’s talc products were tainted with asbestos and caused their cancers are seeking claims in pending lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson.

In July 2018, a St. Louis jury awarded $4.7 billion to 22 women who said asbestos in the company’s talc powder contributed to their ovarian cancer.

“The Company is cooperating with these government inquiries and will be producing documents in response,” Johnson & Johnson said in an SEC filing. “The Company believes that it has strong grounds on appeal to overturn these verdicts.”

“[The agencies inquiries] are related to news reports that included inaccurate statements and also withheld crucial information that had already been made public in the litigation and in prior media reports about the ongoing talc litigation that adversely impacted our share price in late December 2018,” Johnson & Johnson said in a statement to USA Today.

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