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U.S. House subcommittee asks J&J for info on baby powder bankruptcy plans - letter

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By Jessica DiNapoli

NEW YORK, July 28 (Reuters) - A subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform has asked Johnson & Johnson to show it all documents related to plans to put its talc liabilities into bankruptcy, according to a letter sent on Wednesday and seen by Reuters.

Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi, chairman of the subcommittee on economic and consumer policy, wrote that the subcommittee is trying to learn how J&J's plans to put its talc liabilities into bankruptcy may affect victims who claim they were harmed by the company's baby powder.

Krishnamoorthi also asked that J&J turn over documents showing how much funding it would provide to the new entity. The level of funding could determine payouts for victims.

Reuters reported this month that J&J is exploring a plan to offload liabilities it faces from baby powder litigation into a new company which would then file for bankruptcy.

The subcommittee on economic and consumer policy held hearings on carcinogens in baby powder in 2019 and has heard from people suffering from mesothelioma and ovarian cancer.

J&J faces legal actions from tens of thousands of plaintiffs alleging its baby powder and other talc products contained asbestos and caused cancer. The plaintiffs include women suffering from ovarian cancer and others battling mesothelioma.

J&J did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. The company has said in the past that it has yet to determine a course of action regarding the baby powder litigation other than to continue to defend the safety of talc and litigate these cases in the tort system. (Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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