Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Medical conglomerate Johnson & Johnson has announced it will buy back $5 billion worth of stock from investors to recover from market losses of ten times that amount in two days.
The company has been reeling since a report last week said the company knew its talc baby powders contained asbestos but failed to disclose it. The company's shares fell 10 percent Friday, the company's worst day on Wall Street in 15 years. Those shares fell another 3 percent Monday.
Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky denied the asbestos report, saying the company's talc baby powder is the purest, safest, most pharmaceutical-grade talc in the world -- a claim he said is backed up by studies.
"We know that our Talc is safe," Gorsky said in a video on the company's website. "If we believed our products were unsafe, they would be off the shelves immediately. As chairman and CEO of this company, I take this personally and very seriously and I know you do, too."
The company faces 12,000 lawsuits that accuse its talc baby powder of causing mesothelioma, ovarian and other types of cancers. Johnson & Johnson said in a statement the article last week was "one-sided, false and inflammatory."
"Studies of more than 100,000 men and women show that talc does not cause cancer or asbestos-related disease," it said. "Thousands of independent tests by regulators and the world's leading labs prove our baby powder has never contained asbestos."
After losing more than $50 billion over the two-day period, the company announced the buyback program but said it could be suspended or discontinued at any time.
"Based on our continued strong performance and, more importantly, the confidence we have in our business going forward, the Board of Directors and management team believe that the company's shares are an attractive investment opportunity," Gorsky said.