The United States Department of Justice is reportedly conducting a criminal investigation into Johnson & Johnson over the presence of asbestos in its famous baby powder. While the details of the investigation are being kept private for now, the federal authorities have apparently asked the company to turn over a number of documents.
As previous posts here have discussed, Johnson & Johnson has been facing scrutiny for some time now over claims that its baby powder, which is a small but well-known component of its personal and household products business, has asbestos in it. Asbestos is now commonly understood as a dangerous carcinogen that can leave victims with a dangerous and hard to treat form of cancer.
The focus of the investigation is to determine whether upper management actually knew of the presence of asbestos in the baby powder, despite the fact that the company has repeatedly denied as much. The company maintains that its product is safe and free of asbestos.
In addition to the possibility of a criminal investigation, Johnson & Johnson is also undergoing investigations by at least one administrative agency. Furthermore, there have been well over 10,000 civil lawsuits filed against the company seeking damages.
While hopefully this criminal probe will shed additional light on this ongoing controversy, residents of Northern Georgia need to remember that criminal investigations are not necessarily going to compensate victims of defective over-the-counter medical products. Victims will instead likely need to resort to the civil process by filing a medical product liability case. In such a case, a victim may get compensation for things like medical bills, lost wages and emotional distress.