Johnson & Johnson investigated over cancer claims

Justice Department inquiry into whether company lied about possible risks of its talcum powder with grand jury convened in Washington

FILE - This May 14, 2013, file photo shows the Department of Justice headquarters building in Washington early in the morning. The Justice Department is shaking up the legal team fighting for the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census but offered no specifics on why the change was being made. The change announced Sunday, July 7, 2019, comes days after the department vowed to continue to try to find a legal path forward to include the question on the census. (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File)

The US Justice Department is pursuing a criminal probe into whether Johnson & Johnson lied about potential cancer risks of its talcum powder and has convened a grand jury in Washington, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing sources.

The Bloomberg report said the grand jury was looking into documents related to what company officials knew about any carcinogens in the products.

J&J disclosed in its annual report in February that it had received subpoenas from the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission related to the ongoing baby powder litigation but did not give more details.

The company said on Friday that there had been no new developments in the matter.

“As we previously disclosed in our February 2019 SEC filing, we have received a subpoena from the US Department of Justice. We are fully cooperating with the DOJ investigation,” spokesman Ernie Knewitz said.

The Justice Department declined to comment.

Shares of the company fell 5 per cent to $133.02 following the report.

Johnson & Johnson faces lawsuits involving more than 14,000 plaintiffs who allege use of its talc products, including Baby Powder, caused cancer.