The Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra FDA to collect fresh samples from Johnson & Johnson's factory in Mumbai within three days. The same would be sent to three laboratories for testing, including two government and one private one.
The Bombay High Court has ordered samples of Johnson & Johnson baby powder be tested fresh and has also allowed the company to manufacture the product but to not sell it, according to the Maharashtra government order.
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The company had filed a petition challenging the state government's two orders on September 15 which cancelled the licence and on September 20 ordering it to stop sale and manufacturing the product immediately.
The licensing authority of Maharashtra's Food and Drug Administration as well as the joint commissioner passed the orders.
The government based its orders on the report of the Central Drug Laboratory in Kolkata, which found the powder containing higher pH level than prescribed.
A division bench of Justices S V Gangapurwala and S G Dige on Wednesday directed the FDA to collect fresh samples from the company's factory in Mulund, Mumbai within three days.
The sample would then be sent to three laboratories — two government labs and a private one — for testing.
"The samples shall be sent to the Central Drug Testing Laboratory, west zone, FDA lab and the Intertech Laboratory for testing," the court said.
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"The labs shall submit a report within one week thereafter," it added.
Senior counsel Ravi Kadam, appearing for the company, sought that the court till then permit the company to at least start manufacturing the product.
"The petitioner is restrained from selling or distributing the baby powder product by the government. The company shall abide by this order. If the company chooses to manufacture the product then it would be at their own risk," the bench said.
The High Court posted the matter for further hearing on November 30.
The company had in its plea said 14 random batches of February, March and September 2022 were tested by an independent public testing laboratory and all were found to be well within the prescribed pH value.
The leading Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) manufacturer said it has been making the baby powder at its Mulund plant for the last 57 years and its license was renewed in January 2020.
The company also said due to the licence revocation, it suffered a daily loss of Rs 2.5 crore based on the market value of the goods sold.
With PTI inputs