In a relief to Johnson & Johnson (J&J), the Bombay High Court has allowed the company to sell baby powder manufactured at its Mulund plant. Johnson's baby powder manufacturing license was canceled by the Maharashtra government. This decision was challenged by the company in the Bombay High Court.
While giving its verdict, the court said that it is very important to maintain the quality and safety standards of cosmetics products, but it is not appropriate to stop the entire manufacturing process due to a minor defect in any one product.
Earlier in November, the High Court had ordered re-examination of J&J's baby powder samples. Johnson's baby powder manufacturing license was canceled by the Maharashtra government. Its orders were given on 15 and 20 September. In the first order, the license to manufacture baby powder at the Mulund plant was cancelled. The second order asked to stop manufacturing and distribution. The High Court has given this decision while hearing the petition of the company against these orders.
During a surprise inspection in December 2018, the FDA took samples of J&J's talc-based baby powder from Pune and Nashik for quality checks. Of these, the sample made at the Mulund plant was considered 'not of standard quality'.
The test results in 2019 stated that 'the sample does not comply with IS 5339:2004 (Second Revision Amendment No. 3) specification for skin powder for babies in test pH'. Later, the company was served a show cause notice under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
The company said in its petition that 14 random batches of February, March and September 2022 were tested by an independent testing laboratory. All were found to be well within the prescribed pH standard. The company said it has been manufacturing baby powder at its Mulund plant for the last 57 years. J&J's license was renewed in January 2020. The company claimed that it was incurring a daily loss of Rs 2.5 crore due to the cancellation of its licence.
There have been allegations of cancer risk from talc. Actually, from where talc is mined, asbestos also comes out from there. Asbestos is also a naturally occurring silicate mineral. It harms the body. When talc is mined, there is a danger of getting asbestos in it.
In the past, Johnson & Johnson had said that by 2023 it would stop selling its baby talcum powder all over the world. J&J's talcum powder has been discontinued in the US and Canada in 2020 itself. Now the company will sell corn starch based powder instead of talc based powder.