American pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson has rejected the findings of a Rajasthan government laboratory that its baby shampoo, which is a popular product in India, contains “harmful chemicals”.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has written to the chief secretaries of all states and Union territories, asking them to stop sale of the shampoo and remove it from the stocks on the basis of the findings, which were released earlier this month.
“We unequivocally maintain that our products are safe and our assurance process is amongst the most rigorous in the world, meeting or exceeding the safety standards in every country where our products are sold,” the company said. “Johnson & Johnson is in full compliance with current Indian regulatory requirements and standards for manufacturing and testing of all our products.”
Though the NCPCR said the test report had found formaldehyde in two batches of the company’s baby shampoo, Johnson & Johnson said: “We have confirmed to the Indian authorities that we do not add formaldehyde as an ingredient in our shampoo nor does Johnson’s baby shampoo contain any ingredient that can release formaldehyde over time.”
Formaldehyde is known to be a carcinogen.
The company said it has “contested the interim test results of the government analysis that were based on unknown and unspecified methods” and is waiting for the central drugs laboratory to retest the samples.
The child rights commission sought sample test reports of the company’s baby shampoo and talcum powder from Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Assam after reports emerged that the products contain asbestos and carcinogenic substances. It is yet to receive reports from four states, reported PTI.
On March 13, a United States jury had ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $29 million (Rs 202 crore) to a woman diagnosed with cancer, who alleged that the asbestos in the firm’s talcum-powder-based products caused her disease. The pharmaceutical firm is also embroiled in a case involving faulty hip implants.