J&J stops selling baby talcum powder in US, Canada following charges that it causes cancer
Johnson & Johnson (J&J), US-based global healthcare company, has announced it will stop selling baby talcum powder in the US and Canada. According to the media reports, the company faces thousands of consumer lawsuits claiming it caused cancer.
 
The announcement comes after years of litigation where J&J has been asked to pay billions of dollars in damages. It faces over 16,000 consumer lawsuits alleging talc products were contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen.
 
J&J said it would wind down sales of the product, which accounted for 0.5 per cent of its US consumer health business, in the coming months. But retailers will continue to sell the existing inventory.
 
The firm said demand for its baby powder had been declining in North America "due, in large part, to changes in consumer habits and misinformation around the safety of the product".
 
J&J said it had faced "a constant barrage" of lawyers advertising for clients to sue the firm. "We remain steadfastly confident in the safety of talc-based baby powder. Decades of independent scientific studies by medical experts around the world support the safety of our product," the company was quoted as saying by the BBC.
 
In October 2019, J&J said its testing had found no asbestos in the baby powder, after tests by the US Food and Drug Administration discovered trace amounts.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
  • Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

    User 

    You Don’t Need Invasive Tech for Successful Contact Tracing. Here’s How It Works
    While most discussions have focused on countries’ use of surveillance technology, contact tracing is actually a fairly manual process. After interviewing contact tracing experts and taking an online course, ProPublica health reporter Caroline Chen presents her takeaways.
     
    I want you to mentally prepare yourself for a phone call that you could receive sometime over the course of this pandemic: in the next few months or year.
     
    Your phone might ring, and when you pick it up, you may hear someone say, “Hi, I’m calling from the health department.” After verifying your identity, the person may say something like, “I’m afraid we have information that you were in close contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.”
     
    The person calling is what’s known as a contact tracer. As most states begin to lift restrictions on movement and people once more start to eat in restaurants, work in offices and get on public transit, these phone calls will become more frequent. State public health departments are hiring thousands of these workers, and experts are calling for more than 100,000 contact tracers to be deployed across America.
     
    I can only imagine how I would feel if I got a call telling me that I had been in close contact with a COVID-19 patient—shocked, a little scared and possibly a bit in denial. But after spending a week talking to contact tracing experts across the country, and taking an online course as well, I think I’d also feel one more thing: empowered. Here’s why.
     
    Contact Tracing Will Help Us Reopen Safely
    Contact tracing is a public health strategy that has been used successfully to combat infectious disease outbreaks across the globe, from the 1930s, when it helped get rampant syphilis under control in the United States, to the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
     
    Fundamentally, contact tracing works by tracking down all the contacts of an infected person and then taking appropriate action to break the chain of transmission. In practice, that action will vary depending on the nature of the disease — obviously, you don’t need someone to self-isolate at home and have groceries delivered to them if a disease can only be transmitted sexually.
     
    The current coronavirus has been particularly tricky to contain because patients can be contagious a few days before they display symptoms, and some infected people may never show symptoms at all. Furthermore, the time between the onset of symptoms from one case to another is estimated to be quite short, around four days. All these characteristics have helped the virus spread rapidly—and that means that tracers have to move very quickly to reach patients and their contacts in order to cut off new branches of infection.
     
    Experts tell me that contact tracing is the key to safely reopening the economy.
     
    “This narrative has emerged that either we lift all our social distancing measures and let the virus burn through the population, or we hunker down at home forever and let the economy collapse, but that is a false choice,” said Dr. Crystal Watson, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and lead author of a white paper on how the United States can scale up its abilities to identify and trace COVID-19 cases.
     
    “We have this tool—contact tracing—and if we spend some effort and funding on actually building up our capacities, we can control transmission, get back to work much more safely and avoid unnecessary loss of thousands of lives.”
     
    When a patient gets a coronavirus test, the lab reports the results back not only to the patient’s doctor, but also to the local health department. A contact tracer is assigned to the case and will call the person to ask about symptoms, to take down information about people the patient has been in close contact with recently, and to help draw up a plan for isolation, which could entail figuring out how to get groceries or medications delivered. Continue Reading…
     
    Courtesy: ProPublica.org
  • Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

    User 

    Bombay HC Asks Union Govt to Respond Before Friday to Maharashtra FDA Letters on Fixing Price of N95 Masks
    The Bombay High Court (BHC) on Tuesday asked additional solicitor general (ASG) Anil C Singh to take instructions from the Union government on capping prices for N95 masks and respond by Friday on two letters sent by Maharashtra government on the same subject. When the ASG informed the bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice SS Shinde that the government had already capped prices of two-ply, three-ply masks and hand sanitisers, the bench orally directed him to take instructions on what the central government has done regarding the representation sent by Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on prices of N95 masks.
     
    The BHC also directed the Union government to act before Friday on two letters sent by Maharashtra government on 13th and 15 May 2020. The 13th May letter sent by the commissioner of Maharashtra food and drug administration (FDA) had requested the chairman of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) to fix price for sale of N95 masks and personal protection equipment (PPE) kits. 
     
    The second letter sent on 15 May 2020 by the Maharashtra FDA to the NPPA shares details of investigation carried out and reports the findings against four companies in the state. The joint commissioner’s response also includes the prices currently being offered by various manufacturers namely, Magnum (Rs250), Venus (Rs180) and 3M (Rs121 or Rs146 depending on the model no.) of N95 masks. The commissioner reinforces in his letter that while investigation in this matter is being carried out, the NPPA should expedite the pricing matter on top priority. 
     
    Coming back to the BHC order, the bench was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Sucheta Dalal, founder-trustee of Moneylife Foundation and Anjali Damania, founder-trustee of Voice of Indian Taxpayers, a non-government organisation (NGO). 
     
    The PIL sought relief from black marketeering, hoarding and profiteering of N95 masks in Maharashtra despite N95 masks being declared as essential commodity under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955. The petition also alleged that Maharashtra state had failed to take adequate measures to ensure that sufficient availability of surgical masks and other masks at fair prices.
     
    "While these N95 masks are being sold at marked up rates of over 150% by insidious dealers, the frontline workers do not have enough N95 masks and till date more than 800 frontline workers have tested COVID-19 positive mainly due to the lack of adequate protective gear including N95 masks," the PIL mentions. 
     
    N95 masks or N95 respirators are particulate-filtering facepieces which filter at least 95% of airborne particles. The N95 mask requires a fine mesh of synthetic polymer fibers, also known as non-woven polypropylene fabric, which is produced through a process called melt blowing that forms the inner filtration layer that filters out hazardous particles. These masks provide protection against particulates but not against gases or vapours. Thus, these masks are ideal for use for frontline workers including healthcare workers who work in close proximity to the COVID-19 patients, as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) primarily spreads via respiratory droplets and particulates from cough, sneezes and talking.
     
    As the number of confirmed cases grew, the demand for hand sanitizers and masks (including N95 masks) grew exponentially. On 13 March 2020, the union ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution issued an order for regulating production, quality, distribution, logistics of masks (two-ply, three-ply surgical masks and N95 masks) and hand sanitisers and further prevented hoarding, black marketing and profiteering on these items.
     
    The ministry of chemical and fertilisers also passed an order on 13 March 2020 directing all state governments, union territories (UTs) and concerned state authorities to take necessary steps to ensure sufficient availability of surgical masks and other masks, hand sanitisers and gloves at prices not exceeding the maximum retail prices (MRP) printed on the pack size. 
     
    However, despite these directives from the Union government, the state government in Maharashtra failed to take any measures to ensure sufficient availability of surgical masks and other masks, hand sanitisers and gloves at prices not exceeding the MRP.
     
    During the current pandemic, a major issue that has come to the fore and has been reported widely in the media is the rising number of frontline workers including doctors, nurses, ward boys, police personnel and sanitation workers who have tested positive for COVID-19. According to the latest media reports more than 800 frontline health workers working in government and private hospitals in Mumbai have been infected with the virus.
     
    The petition states, "These healthcare personnel who were forced to work without adequate protection PPE proceeded to seek help from NGOs and social workers as the state seemed incapable of providing them the required number of PPE including N95 masks. These medical personnel sought donations of PPE and N95 masks from the general public in order to allay the shortage that the government was not able to fulfil."
     
    Moved by these calls for help, both Moneylife Foundation and Voice of Indian Taxpayers sought to acquire these PPE kits and N95 masks so that the same could be provided to the frontline workers. It is during this endeavour to acquire these protective kits and N95 masks for our frontline workers that Ms Dalal and Ms Damania, the petitioners, were shocked to witness rampant black marketeering and profiteering in N95 masks and the abject failure of the state machinery to implement the order dated 13 March 2020 passed under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.
     
    When the two NGOs sought to acquire the N95 masks so that the same could be supplied largely to government, municipal and charitable hospitals or those designated for COVID-19 treatment, they realised that there are two companies producing N95 or equivalent masks around Mumbai. One was Venus Safety and Health Pvt Ltd at Taloja Industrial Area and Magnum Health and Safety Pvt Ltd near Palghar. When the NGOs approached these manufacturers to acquire N95 masks, they were informed that the entire production of the N95 masks was being acquired by the government and, hence, there was no stock left for dissemination to the consumers and refused to accept the purchase requests. 
     
    In the meanwhile, the Maharashtra government brought N95 masks needed to be approved by the state government’s Haffkine Institute. Eventually Venus Safety and Health agreed to provide 5,000 and 3,200 N95 masks to these two NGOs at Rs40 + GST and Rs60 + GST per mask, respectively. 
     
    When both Moneylife Foundation and Voice of Indian Taxpayers again approached Venus Safety and Health for more N95 masks so that they could in turn be provided to the frontline workers, they were informed that no orders would be accepted as all of their production was booked. 
     
    The company claimed that their entire production had been taken over by the government and refused to accept the NGOs purchase orders. After this, both Moneylife Foundation and Voice of Indian Taxpayers along with seven other NGOs wrote to Maharashtra chief secretary to bring to his notice the non-availability of N95 masks. 
     
    The petitioners Ms Dalal and Ms Damania assumed that all the N95 masks that were being produced by these two manufacturers were being acquired by the Union government and Maharashtra government and thus, these companies had no stock to sell to them. 
     
    But, to their shock and surprise soon after the petitioners were stonewalled by Venus Safety and Health, they started receiving unsolicited messages from multiple dealers and traders offering to sell to N95 masks at a mark-up of over 150%. The petitioners were flooded with WhatsApp messages, along with photographic proof of availability of stocks of N95 masks being manufactured by Venus Safety and Health. These messages were accompanied by videos showcasing proof of stock, some of the dealers were ready to provide as many as one lakh N95 masks at the price of Rs210 and GST. These dealers were selling N95 masks produced by both Venus Safety and Health and Magnum Health and Safety. 
     
    Appalled by the blatant and out in the open profiteering on N95 masks especially when the healthcare workers and essential service-providers were forced to work without these essential protective equipment, the petitioners did some probe. The essential question that came to light is if the entirety of the stock of Venus Safety and Health was being acquired by the government as the company had informed then where had these dealers acquired their stocks of lakhs of N-95 masks and more troublingly how were they replenishing the said stock?
     
    Eventually, Ms Dalal and Ms Damania found that not only were the said masks freely available at a marked up price in the black market, but that the prices at which they were sold the N95 masks (Rs40 and Rs60, excluding GST) by Venus Safety and Health, were also considerably higher than the price at which the company had sold the same N95 masks to Haffkine Bio Pharmaceutical Corp Ltd on 28 January 2020. The petitioner learnt that Venus Safety and Health had sold 92,500 masks to the Haffkine at just Rs17.33 per mask.
     
    "These acts of hoarding and profiteering has worsened an already dire situation. While our frontline workers are forced to perform their duties without adequate protective gear and mask. A scarcity of protective gear is being compounded further by hoarders and profiteers seeking to make a windfall by jeopardizing the health of crores of people," Ms Dalal and Ms Damania had contended in the PIL.
     
  • Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

    User 

    COMMENTS

    gopaliyer1950

    2 days ago

    Why legal action not taken against these 2 companies as also the retailers who can sell upto 1 lac masks at prohibitive prices

    jaczacha

    5 days ago

    Common people who are not connected with health care work do not need N95 masks.They are exclusively for health care workers.

    shirish.s

    5 days ago

    Madam Dalal and Madam Damania have done an excellent job to get N95 masks to frontline COVID workers at a reasonable price.
    A lot of follow up has to be done by them, till proper order comes from Central Government's concerned authorities.










    Vivek Sethia

    5 days ago

    Crazy but something happens everyday around us.
    We have to believe that the guys involved don\'t belive that they can face something like this throughout their life and that gives them enough freedom to do what appeals to them, irrecp3ftice of the outcome or implications. Not to forget our system has been cooperative and conducive enough for such breeds to flourish

    We are listening!

    Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
      Loading...
    Close

    To continue


    Please
    Sign Up or Sign In
    with

    Email
    Close

    To continue


    Please
    Sign Up or Sign In
    with

    Email

    BUY NOW

    online financial advisory
    Pathbreakers
    Pathbreakers 1 & Pathbreakers 2 contain deep insights, unknown facts and captivating events in the life of 51 top achievers, in their own words.
    online financia advisory
    The Scam
    24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
    Moneylife Online Magazine
    Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
    financial magazines online
    Stockletters in 3 Flavours
    Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
    financial magazines in india
    MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
    (Includes Moneylife Online Magazine)
    FREE: Your Complete Family Record Book
    Keep all the Personal and Financial Details of You & Your Family. In One Place So That`s Its Easy for Anyone to Find Anytime
    We promise not to share your email id with anyone