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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, July 13, 2019 1:00 am

Briefs

J&J probed over powder issues

News services

The U.S. Justice Department is pursuing a criminal investigation into whether Johnson & Johnson lied to the public about the possible cancer risks of its talcum powder, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The criminal probe, which hasn't been reported previously, coincides with a regulatory investigation and civil claims by thousands of cancer patients that J&J's Baby Powder talc was responsible for their illness.

Now a grand jury in Washington is examining documents related to what company officials knew about any carcinogens in their products, the people said.

Baby Powder accounts for only a tiny fraction of J&J's annual revenue, but it's been a core brand for the company for more than a century.

Public questions about the product's safety have led to more than 14,000 lawsuits from consumers.

Oracle move rejected by judge

A federal judge has ruled against Oracle's motion to block the Pentagon's 10-year, $10 billion cloud computing contract, siding with the Defense Department and Amazon Web Services in a contentious eight-month legal battle.

The Friday decision in the Court of Federal Claims should clear the way for the Pentagon to award the long-awaited contract to either Amazon or Microsoft, the two companies it says are eligible.

The contract, called the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or “JEDI” for short, is meant to serve as a springboard for artificial intelligence applications and make it easier for military agencies to share classified information with deployed soldiers, sailors and Marines.

Producer prices post slight rise

U.S. producer prices rose modestly in June, another sign that inflationary pressures remain subdued.

The Labor Department said Friday that its producer price index, which measures inflation before it reaches consumers, rose 0.1% last month, same as the increase in May. Wholesale prices rose 1.7% from June 2018.

Toss out volatile food and energy prices and wholesale inflation rose 0.3% last month from May and 2.3% from a year earlier.