India is part of pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) “global portfolio evaluation and commercial decision to transition to an all cornstarch-based baby powder portfolio.”
In its statement, the company said that as a result of the change, talc-based Johnson’s baby powder will be discontinued globally in 2023.
The announcement earlier this month comes two years after J&J discontinued the product in the US and Canada.
Child rights groups, parents and doctors have questioned the continued availability of the product here in India. Indian drug regulators are silent on the matter; Allowing wide availability and sale of this product in the country.
The company said that “there are no plans to recall this talc in India and there will be no recall. The product is safe and will be available until production is discontinued.”
“The product causes ovarian cancer”
The company’s decision to stop production comes after a series of lawsuits from women who claim the product caused them to develop ovarian cancer, due to alleged contamination with asbestos, a known carcinogen.
The company maintains that their older (non-corn-starch-based) products are safe.
“Our position on the safety of our cosmetic talc remains unchanged. “We stand firmly behind decades of independent scientific analysis by medical experts around the world that confirm that talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder is safe, asbestos-free and non-cancer-causing,” the company said in its statement.
“In India, the company has been slow to implement the strategy that has been adapted to the western part of the world. If a product is discontinued, why should it be sold and why not recalled?” Dr. asked. Suresh Kumar Panuganti, Principal Consultant-Pediatric Critical Care, Yashoda Hospital, Hyderabad.
“Inhalation of talc causes respiratory disease.”
For decades now doctors have advised parents not to use talcum powder on children, even if it does not contain asbestos, warning that talc can cause respiratory illnesses.
Dr Syed Mustafa Hasan, Director and Senior Consultant, Paediatrics and Neonatology, Akash Healthcare, says we already know the harmful effects of asbestos on respiratory health, which has been found in their talc-based baby powder. Asbestos was initially a building material commonly used in India in the 1980s, often for fireproofing and insulation.
“When talc is contaminated with asbestos, it is more likely to contain the highly carcinogenic tremolite or anthophyllite. These are considered more carcinogenic than chrysotile, the most commonly used asbestos. Prolonged inhalation of asbestos increases the risk of several cancers, including lung and colon cancer. 5 years Young babies and children are five times more likely than adults in their 30s to develop mesothelioma, a type of cancer associated with asbestos, if they are exposed to it at the same time. This is because a child’s organs are more tender than an adult’s. Talcum powder Harmful to both mother and child,” he explains.
The National Commission of Protection for Child Rights (NCPCR) in India questioned the drug regulator about the lack of uniformity in testing methods to detect the presence of formaldehyde and asbestos (both identified as substances that promote the formation of cancer in humans). ) in J&J’s baby shampoo and talcum powder. A senior official of the Ministry of Health mentioned that the final decision on the matter is pending.
The company explained its transition to cornstarch-based baby powder by continuously evaluating and optimizing its portfolio to best position the business for long-term growth.
“Already sold in other countries”
“This transformation will help us simplify our product offerings, deliver sustainable innovation and meet the needs of our consumers, customers and evolving global trends,” it said, acknowledging that cornstarch-based Johnson’s Baby Powder is already sold in several countries around the world. .
Dr Sumit Chakraborty, Senior Consultant Neonatologist, Asian Hospital explains that asbestos – a possible carcinogen – is definitely a brand culprit, but others need to check their levels too. He reiterated that talc is not recommended for use in children because particles can reach the lungs through the nose and cause acute respiratory illness, sometimes severe enough to require hospitalization.
The Indian childcare products market is highly competitive, with various regional and global players holding major shares and contributing to their growth. The major players expanding their business are Johnson & Johnson, Nestlé SA, The Procter & Gamble Company, Kimberly-Clark Corporation and Himalaya Global Holdings Ltd., which collectively hold the lion’s share of the overall market, said a report by Mordor Intelligence. Market intelligence and advisory firm.