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Johnson & Johnson Chief Refuses to Attend Congressional Hearing on Asbestos in Talc Products

Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky has refused to appear at a U.S. congressional hearing set for Tuesday on the safety of the corporate’s Baby Powder and other talc-based products.

In a declaration, the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy stated that its efforts to steer Gorsky to testify included “repeated attempts to accommodate the corporate” over a month.

Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi, the chairperson of the House panel scrutinying concerns about cancer-causing asbestos in cosmetic talc and powders, stated he was dissatisfied Gorsky turned down the request.

J&J spokesperson Ernie Knewitz stated that the subcommittee had declined the corporate’s proposal to send talc examining expert or a J&J executive responsible for consumer products.

Knewitz stated that the composition of the hearing, which incorporates two experts who’ve testified for plaintiffs against J&J, further factored into the company’s decision.

Gorsky has played a vital role in J&J’s efforts to reassure customers and investors that its talc powders are safe and asbestos-free. In 2018, he issued a statement confirming for the safety of the products after a jury issued a $4.69 billion order in favor of 22 women who sued over allegations J&J powders had caused ovarian cancers.

Gorsky appeared on “Mad Money with Jim Cramer” and in a video posted on J&J’s website to deny a December 2018 report that the company knew for many years of the presence of asbestos in its powders and talc.

In October, Gorsky testified in a deposit in a case lodged by an Indiana man, saying, “We unequivocally believe that our baby powder doesn’t have asbestos.” J&J faces over 16,000 similar cases.

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