The Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration to act swiftly against pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson if its baby powder samples are found to have violated safety standards, reported Live Law.

A two-judge division bench was hearing Johnson & Johnson’s petition against the Food and Drug Administration’s September 2022 decision to cancel its licence to manufacture baby powder at its factory in Mumbai’s Mulund area, and sell the product after pH levels in the product were found to be higher than the prescribed limit. pH levels determine whether a substance is acidic or alkaline in nature.

“You must act within a time frame because you are dealing with cosmetics especially drugs,” the High Court told the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday, reported Live Law. “There cannot be delays for months and years. We will set out that the speed at which you operate will be a factor to be considered, whenever there is a challenge.”

The court will pass an order in the case on Wednesday.

On November 16, the High Court had allowed Johnson & Johnson to manufacture its baby powder at the Mulund plant but prohibited its sale or distribution.

The Food and Drug Administration had collected the samples of the product in November 2019, and issued a show cause notice to the company in 2021. On September 15 last year, the product’s licence had been cancelled.

At the previous hearing on January 3, the High Court had said that the authorities could carry out fresh testing of samples according to new guidelines of the Centre and take urgent action if they violate safety standards, reported The Indian Express.

Johnson & Johnson faces about 38,000 lawsuits that claim its talcum products cause cancer due to contamination with asbestos. The product had been discontinued in the United States and Canada in 2020. On August 11, the company had announced that it will stop selling its baby talcum powder globally from 2023.