J&J CEO declines appearance at U.S. congressional hearing on talc carcinogens

Dec. 10, 2019

Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky has declined to appear at a U.S. congressional hearing set for Tuesday on the safety of the company’s talc-based cosmetics.

In an announcement, the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy said that its efforts to persuade Gorsky to testify included “repeated attempts to accommodate the company” over nearly a month.

According to J&J, the subcommittee had rejected the company’s offers to send a talc testing expert or a J&J executive in charge of consumer products as it says that Gorsky is not an expert in the subject of the hearing.

Gorsky has been front and center in J&J’s efforts to reassure consumers and investors that its talc powders are asbestos free. Last year, he issued a statement vouching for the safety of the products after a jury issued a $4.69 billion verdict in favor of 22 women who sued over allegations their ovarian cancers were caused by J&J powders.

In recent months, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that carcinogens had been found in several products, including a bottle of Baby Powder. Meanwhile J&J recalled 33,000 bottles of Baby Powder, citing “an abundance of caution.”

J&J later hired labs that have claimed to have found no asbestos - other than some contamination it blamed on an air conditioner.

The FDA stands by its finding.

Read the Reuters report