J&J  continues to deny that it knew for decades about asbestos in its baby powder, and an apology from the drugmaker is unlikely, experts say. After recent Reuters and New York Times exposés asserting the company knew about trace amounts of asbestos in its talc as far back as 1971, the company is using all PR and marketing resources available to refute the claims and to educate the public. (MM&M)

Two Democratic lawmakers have written a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency expressing concern about products that potentially contain asbestos. After the Reuters investigation into J&J’s Baby Powder, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) want to know how the EPA is regulating such products. (Reuters)

Former Medtronic CEO Bill George wrote in a commentary that GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer’s plans to merge consumer businesses, and eventually spin off the unit, signals a shift by healthcare companies away from diversification and toward their core strengths in drug discovery. He also cites GE’s plan to separate its healthcare unit, announced earlier this year, as an example of what’s to come. (CNBC)

Novartis’ oncology CEO is stepping down after only 10 months. Liz Barrett is handing the job to Susan Schaffert, a 20-plus-year veteran of the Swiss drugmaker. Currently, Schaffert is president of a Novartis subsidiary, Advanced Accelerator Applications. Barrett is moving to a position as CEO of a yet-to-be-announced US-based biotech. (Endpoints)

The winner of the inaugural MM&M Holiday Contest is Klick Health for its “Klickmas” video about the debut of a holiday-only agency offshoot. Runners-up were ARK Media in second place and MEI in third. (MM&M)