The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has directed Johnson & Johnson to immediately withdraw a batch of its baby shampoo that allegedly contains harmful chemicals, PTI reported on Tuesday. The multinational company has claimed that its products are safe.
The direction comes a month after a Rajasthan government laboratory found formaldehyde in two batches of Johnson & Johnson’s baby shampoo. Formaldehyde is known to be a carcinogen. The pharmaceutical major’s share in the country’s Rs 4,000-crore baby care market is nearly three-fourths, according to PTI.
A complaint was filed in April with the child rights panel. It wrote to all the states and Union Territories, asking them to test the samples of Johnson & Johnson shampoo and talcum powder.
In its notice to the company dated May 23, the commission asked it to immediately withdraw the supply of the batch in question. “As the alleged batches are still in circulation and may have been procured by the consumers due to non-compliance of notice of Drug Control Officer [DCO] in Jaipur [which had conducted the tests],” it said. “Therefore an advisory should be issued in vernacular dailies including in English and Hindi across print and electronic forms.”
The commission also asked Johnson & Johnson to send a compliance report by May 29 or face action.
The company, in its response, reiterated that its products are safe and its shampoo does not contain any harmful ingredient “as erroneously concluded in a Rajasthan government laboratory test conducted with “unknown and unspecified test methods”, PTI reported.
The company pointed out that it has challenged the test results and the samples have been sent for re-testing at the Apellate laboratory as ordered by a magistrate’s court. “Given that the re-testing process is underway with the appellate laboratory, no arbitrary action on the said two batches of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo is, in our opinion, warranted,” PTI quoted a company spokesperson as saying.
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 in India.