Johnson and Johnsona
Johnson & Johnson powderReuters

In fresh trouble for Johnson & Johnson (J&J), the American multinational corporation that manufactures medical devices, pharmaceutical, and consumer packaged goods, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found traces of tiny amounts of asbestos were found from a bottle purchased online in the US.

Interestingly, this is not the first time the J&J product has been caught for using asbestos. Last year in December, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has ordered the company to stop using talc raw material from its Mulund plant in Mumbai and Baddi unit in Himachal Pradesh for any product as they were not tested for the presence of asbestos in raw materials.

In current development, J&J is voluntarily recalling the lot, #22318RB, which consists of 33,000 bottles and has urged the customers who bought the product not to use them. As per a report in Bloomberg, the company quickly claimed that it is cooperating with the FDA to investigate how and when the product was contaminated. FDA spokeswoman Gloria Sanchez-Contreras informed that during testing the agency found chrysotile fibers, a type of asbestos.

FDA has further recommended the consumers to stop using the lot immediately and ask for a refund from J&J. The FDA had tested another lot of J&J's baby powder which was negative for asbestos. Sanchez-Contreras further added that the FDA "stands by the quality of its testing and results and is not aware of any adverse events relating to exposure to a lot of affected products."

Johnson & Johnson
While J&J has dominated the talc powder market for more than 100 years the products contributed to a mere 0.5% of its revenue of $76.5bn last year.Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters

The New York stock exchange reacted negatively to the development as J&J shares tanked more than 6 percent to $127.70 which is the biggest drop since December last year. The stock is facing headwinds due to uncertainty over the company's potential liabilities in a series of lawsuits related to talc and other products.

In a public statement, J&J claimed, "Thousands of tests over the past 40 years repeatedly confirm that our consumer talc products do not contain asbestos." The company is investigating whether cross-contamination of the sample caused a false positive, whether it was appropriately sealed or it was a counterfeit product.

This is not the first time J&J is facing issues related to its products. In India, the company is facing lawsuit over faulty hip implants and has agreed to pay compensation to patients. Earlier in April, Indian drug regulators found the company's 'No More Tears' baby shampoo containing a cancer-causing substance. The Drugs Control Organisation of Rajasthan has claimed to have discovered formaldehyde in two batches of the popular shampoo.