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Johnson & Johnson stock drops by billions after this damaging report went public

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The stock market value for Johnson & Johnson dropped by 10 percent on Friday after a damaging report went public, causing the company to lose about $23 billion in value.

The report from Reuters drew the scandalous conclusions based on a review of deposition and trial testimony from 1971 into the early 2000s. The report claimed that the company knew that some tests of their raw talc and finished powder showed traces of asbestos.

Reuters claimed that company executives discussed the problem but did not disclose information about it to regulators or the public for decades.

Johnson & Johnson has been faced thousands of lawsuits claiming that exposure to their products raised the risk of cancer for their customers. A Missouri jury ordered the company to pay $4.69 billion in one case involving 22 women.

"An absurd conspiracy theory"

The Johnson & Johnson company responded by denying the report vehemently.

"Simply put, the Reuters story is an absurd conspiracy theory," the statement read, "in that it apparently has spanned over 40 years, orchestrated among generations of global regulators, the world's foremost scientists and universities, leading independent labs, and J&J employees themselves."

The company's CFO Joseph Wolk addressed the issue at a CNBC event before the report surfaced.

"With respect to talc," said Wolk, "we're going to continue to defend that product which is used by consumers across the globe."

"We have science that's on our side," he explained, "that is indicative that the product is safe, it's not just the scientific conclusions of Johnson & Johnson lab folks, it's the FDA, it's the National Cancer Institute."

"So we're going to continue to defend products that we believe are safe," he concluded.

Here's a CNBC news report about the asbestos scandal:

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