Three major US retailers, including Walmart, are removing all 22-ounce bottles of Johnson & Johnson's baby powder from their stores, following the healthcare conglomerate's recall last week of some bottles due to possible asbestos contamination.
CVS Health Corp said on Thursday it would remove the bottles from its online store as well, out of caution and to prevent customer confusion. The pharmacy chain said all other sizes of the talc would remain on its shelves.
Rite Aid had informed its stores to pull all 22-ounce bottles of Johnson's Baby Powder from shelves on Oct 18 and store them in a secure location, company spokesman Chris Savarese said. Additionally, we've applied a point of sale system block for this product to prevent it from being sold.
Late Thursday, CNBC reported that Walmart, the world's largest retailer, had also removed and blocked all of the recalled baby powder.
J&J, which is facing thousands of lawsuits over a variety of products, said last week it was recalling around 33,000 bottles of baby powder in the US after US health regulators found trace amounts of asbestos in samples taken from a bottle purchased online.
The move marked the first time J&J recalled its iconic baby powder for possible asbestos contamination, and the first time US regulators announced a finding of asbestos in the product.
Asbestos is a known carcinogen that has been linked to deadly mesothelioma.
The voluntary recall was limited to one lot of Johnson's Baby Powder produced and shipped in the United States in 2018, J&J had said. The company added that testing by the US Food and Drug Administration as recently as a month ago found no asbestos in their talc.
Commenting on CVS's move, J&J spokesman Ernie Knewitz said, ”It's temporary ... They are doing it storewide because they don't have the resources to go through at the store level and check all the SKUs (stock keeping units), check all the lot numbers.”
Other retailers are expected to remove the product from their shelves as they want to avoid liability, said Eric Schiffer, chief executive officer of private equity firm Patriarch Organization.
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