J&J baby powder will stop selling globally in 2023

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) will stop selling talc-based baby powder globally in 2023, the drugmaker said on Thursday, more than two years after ending U.S. sales of a product that sparked thousands of consumer safety lawsuits.

“As part of a global portfolio assessment, we have made the business decision to transition to an all-cornstarch baby powder portfolio,” he said, adding that baby powder at cornstarch base is already sold in countries around the world.

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In 2020, J&J announced it would stop selling its talc baby powder in the United States and Canada because demand had plummeted following what it called “misinformation” about the product’s safety in the US and Canada. amid a barrage of legal challenges.

The company faces approximately 38,000 lawsuits from consumers and their survivors claiming its talc products have caused cancer due to contamination with asbestos, a known carcinogen.

J&J denies the claims, saying decades of scientific testing and regulatory approvals have shown its talc to be safe and asbestos-free. On Thursday, he reiterated the statement announcing the discontinuation of the product.

J&J spun off its LTL Management subsidiary in October, assigned its talc claims to it and immediately filed for bankruptcy, pausing ongoing lawsuits. Those suing have said Johnson & Johnson should defend themselves against the lawsuits, while defendants for J&J and the subsidiary bankruptcy process say it’s a fair way to compensate the plaintiffs.

Ben Whiting, an attorney with the plaintiffs’ firm Keller Postman, said that with the lawsuits stayed in the event of bankruptcy, the decision to sell the company will not immediately affect them. But if a federal appeals court allows the cases to move forward, consumers could try to use Johnson & Johnson’s decision to withdraw the products as evidence, Whiting said.

“If those cases were to happen again, then that’s a really big deal,” Whiting said.

Prior to filing for bankruptcy, the company was facing costs of $3.5 billion in verdicts and settlements, including one in which 22 women won a judgment of more than $2 billion, according to bankruptcy court records. .

A shareholder proposal calling for an end to global sales of baby talc failed in April.

A 2018 Reuters investigation found that J&J had known for decades that asbestos, a carcinogen, was present in its talc products. Internal company records, trial testimony and other evidence showed that between at least 1971 and the early 2000s, J&J’s raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of ‘asbestos.

In response to evidence of asbestos contamination presented in the media, in the courtroom and on Capitol Hill, J&J has repeatedly stated that its talc products are safe and do not cause cancer.

Sold since 1894, Johnson’s Baby Powder has become a symbol of the company’s family image. An internal J&J marketing presentation from 1999 referred to the baby products division, with baby powder at its core, as J&J’s “No. 1 asset”, Reuters reported, although baby powder would not accounted for only about 0.5% of its US consumer healthcare business when the company pulled it from shelves.

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