COLOMBO (Good Medical) – Sri Lanka has halted imports of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder until the company proves that its product is free from carcinogenic asbestos, two government officials told Good Medical on Thursday. local distributor.

A bottle of Johnson and Johnson baby powder is seen on a photo taken in New York on February 24, 2016. Good Medical / Mike Segar / Illustration

The product stocks already in Sri Lanka can still be sold, but there will be no new imports of talc, a popular health product across Sri Lanka and much of Asia, up to ################################################################### J & J India, from where Sri Lanka imports the product, provide fresh produce. test results.

On December 14, Good Medical announced that the US group of drugs and consumer products had known for decades that asbestos was hiding in its baby powder, which has led to tests in several countries, including India.

The report was based on thousands of pages of memos, internal reports and other confidential documents.

J & J described the story of Good Medical as "one-sided, false and incendiary".

Kamal Jayasinghe, General Manager of the Sri Lanka Drug Regulatory Authority (NMRA), part of the Ministry of Health, said that he had informed the distributor, A.Baur & Co., that he would need further tests to continue to import the powder.

"We have held their re-registration and informed the distributor to submit quality reports from an accredited laboratory in order to ensure that their products do not contain asbestos," Jayasinghe told Good Medical. .

The import license of the product by A.Baur & Co expired in December, said a second person from the NMRA.

Shalutha Perera, head of consumer affairs at A.Baur, told Good Medical that the company had informed J & J in India of the suspension of the licensing process.

"J & J India directly manages all regulatory issues," he said.

Perera said the NMRA had contacted A.Baur in December about new asbestos tests.

A spokeswoman for J & J India declined to comment on the stoppage of shipments to Sri Lanka but said the company "fully complied with Indian regulatory requirements in effect for the manufacture and testing of our talc".

"We are cooperating fully with the Indian government and are waiting for the results of their tests," she added.

The spokeswoman said the product was regularly tested by vendors and independent laboratories to ensure that it did not contain asbestos.

Report by Shihar Aneez and Ranga Sirilal, additional reporting and editing by Alasdair Pal; Edited by Martin Howell, Robert Birsel