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The FBI is investigating a Johnson & Johnson surgical device that was found to spread cancer in women. The FBI is also investigating the fact that J&J knew about the tool’s hazards before pulling it off the market last year.

The device is called a laparoscopic power morcellator, which is meant to remove tumors from the uterus. It is also a device used most in hysterectomies. It breaks up fibroids or benign tumors in the uterus. But they're suspected of spreading cancer cells in some women.

It is unclear what stage the inquiry is in. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Newark, NJ  office, which is overseeing the investigation according to the three people interviewed, declined to comment. A Johnson & Johnson spokesman said the New Jersey-based medical company isn’t aware of an investigation into the device.

Over the past several months, FBI agents have interviewed a retired pathologist who alerted J&J about potential problems with morcellators in 2006; a doctor who went public after her own cancer was worsened by the tool in 2013; and a California woman who has collected names of close to 400 patients and families of patients who may have been harmed by the tool, these people said.

Sarah Robinson, a physician assistant in Los Altos, California, said the FBI contacted her about two months ago. Ms. Robinson, who testified at an FDA hearing on the morcellator, has collected a list of women and families of women who believe their cancer was worsened by the device. Ms. Robinson said she sent an FBI agent a list of 386 names, which includes herself, on April 3.

Read the full story: wsj.com 

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