Accused in thousands of lawsuits that the talcum powder in its products caused cancer, Johnson & Johnson announced Tuesday that the company is discontinuing the manufacturing and distribution of its talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in the U.S. and Canada. The company has reportedly paid out billions in compensation after years of litigation.
On Tuesday, Johnson & Johnson issued the following statement: “Demand for talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in North America has been declining due in large part to changes in consumer habits and fueled by misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising.
“Johnson & Johnson remains steadfastly confident in the safety of talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder. Decades of scientific studies by medical experts around the world support the safety of our product. We will continue to vigorously defend the product, its safety, and the unfounded allegations against it and the Company in the courtroom. All verdicts against the Company that have been through the appeals process have been overturned.
“The Company will wind down the commercialization of talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in the U.S. and Canada in the coming months. Existing inventory will continue to be sold through retailers until it runs out. Cornstarch-based Johnson’s Baby Powder will remain available in North America. Both types of Johnson’s Baby Powder – talc-based and cornstarch-based – will continue to be sold in other markets around the world where there is significantly higher consumer demand for the product. Importantly, Johnson & Johnson remains fully committed to its Johnson’s Baby brand.”
In May 2019, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $25 million in compensatory damages to a 66-year-old woman who contracted a rare asbestos-related cancer after decades of using J&J’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products. J&J faces more than 14,000 cases accusing Johnson & Johnson’s talc-containing products of causing ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
In 2018, a New Jersey jury ordered J&J and its talc powder supplier, Imerys Talc America Inc., to pay $117 million in damages to Stephen Lanzo III and his wife. Lanzo was diagnosed with mesothelioma after using J&J’s talc products for years.
Johnson & Johnson is currently appealing against a 2018 order to pay $4.7 billion in damages to 22 women who alleged that its talc products caused them to develop ovarian cancer.