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Johnson and Johnson Talc-Based Powder’s Journey Ends Here

Johnson & Johnson plans to end global sales of its traditional talc-based baby powder products in 2023. J&J made the “commercial decision” to switch to using cornstarch instead of talcum powder. 

Why the Johnson &Johnson took such a decision to stop its sale of talc-based powder?

As per the company, its baby powder made of cornstarch is already available in many countries. J&J has laid the blame for the approximately 38,000 consumer lawsuits in North America on a number of misinformation. The business has repeatedly refuted the accusations, pointing to several scientific studies and regulatory clearances that demonstrate the items it sells are safe. 

How is Johnson & Johnson handling the matter?

The company put $2 billion into a trust as part of the unit’s bankruptcy to resolve all current and future talc claims. In February, a judge said the case could proceed in order to seek settlements, but his ruling is being appealed.

Lawyers for former talc users have challenged J&J’s move to have the unit seek Chapter 11 protection to deal with the talc unit. A federal appeals court in Philadelphia will hear plaintiffs’ arguments Sept. 19 that the move amounted to a “bad faith” bankruptcy filing because they contend J&J’s financial position wasn’t threatened by the talc litigation.

In court filings, J&J’s lawyers have noted the company ran into stumbling blocks in working out a global settlement of the talc cases and faced mounting legal costs. The drugmaker’s attorneys noted it paid more than $1 billion in legal fees over the last five years in the talc cases and had to deal with inconsistent jury verdicts.

J&J has been forced to pay about $3.5 billion in settlements so far to resolve talc cases, according to the company’s bankruptcy filings. A 2018 jury verdict out of state court in St. Louis ultimately forced J&J to pay $2.5 billion to 20 women who targeted its baby powder for their ovarian cancer. Both the Missouri Supreme Court and the US Supreme Court refused to overturn the verdict.

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