|Human lungs destroyed by mesothelioma. Photo from the Pathology Education|
Informational Resources Digital Library public access image database.
If you want or need yet another example of why the Trump administration’s urge to deregulate consumer protections are so horrifying, take a look at Johnson & Johnson. Or should they be called Murder & Murder?
A shocking piece of investigative reporting by Lisa Girion at Reuters indicates that, “Facing thousands of lawsuits alleging that its talc caused cancer, J&J insists on the safety and purity of its iconic product. But internal documents examined by Reuters show that the company’s powder was sometimes tainted with carcinogenic asbestos and that J&J kept that information from regulators and the public.”
Well, this is going to cost Johnson&Johnson some money in court. Probably. It has already cost its stockholders plenty. Last time I looked today, J&J stock was down more than nine and a half percent.
In the end, my guess is J&J will settle some lawsuits and cheerfully continue doing business. My other guess is that government regulatory agencies will do nothing, or at least nothing significant, to make an example of J&J.
I’m not talking about damages and fines, even costly punitive fines. Big business has come to regard those as simply the cost of doing business. I’m talking about charges of negligent homicide, and stiff prison terms for J&J executives, from the very top down, who knew their product was carcinogenic and hushed up the news to protect sales and profits.
Since the discovery and subsequent lying about asbestos in their talc goes back to at least 1972, it’s possible that some of the guilty parties are already dead and others are retired. Fine, haul the still-living criminal old farts out of their retirement homes, perp walk ‘em into court, and put their evil butts on trial, same as we used to do for war criminals.
Justice demands it. The corpses of God-knows-how many people who died of mesothelioma and ovarian cancer caused by J&J products demand it. The deaths, still to come, of others, coughing and gasping for breath, demand it.
I know, I know. It ain’t gonna happen. Yet.
Unless enough people make enough noise, long enough.
Consider this a shout. I hope it’s an early one that will eventually join others and become a roar so loud, it will be impossible for politicians and prosecutors to cover their ears any longer.