Johnson & Johnson Settles Talc Product Investigation for $700 Million

Johnson & Johnson has agreed to a $700 million settlement to end an inquiry by 42 US states and Washington, D.C.
Johnson & Johnson has agreed to a $700 million settlement to end an inquiry by 42 US states and Washington, D.C.

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has decided to a $700 million settlement to resolve an investigation by 42 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. concerning the marketing of its talc-based products, including baby powder, allegedly linked to cancer.

This settlement addresses accusations that J&J misled consumers regarding the safety of its talc products.

Details of the Settlement:

Florida, North Carolina, and Texas led the investigation. J&J did not admit to any wrongdoing as part of the settlement agreement. The firm maintains that its talc products are safe and not cause cancer.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody emphasized that the settlement represents a significant advancement for consumer product safety.

Ongoing Legal Battles:

Despite this settlement, J&J still faces numerous lawsuits related to its talc products:

Number of Lawsuits: As of March 31, approximately 61,490 individuals sued J&J over its talc products.

Most plaintiffs are women with ovarian cancer, while a smaller group has mesothelioma, a type of cancer associated with asbestos exposure.

J&J also faces a class action lawsuit accusing it of concealing the dangers of talc from shareholders.

Talc Product Changes:

In response to the ongoing litigation and safety concerns, J&J stopped selling talc-based baby powder globally last year and switched to using corn starch as the primary ingredient.

J&J has consistently argued that its talc products do not contain asbestos.

Bankruptcy Attempts:

J&J has attempted to address the talc litigation by placing a subsidiary created to handle its talc liabilities into bankruptcy. However, these attempts have been rejected by the courts.

On May 1, J&J proposed a $6.48 billion settlement to resolve most of the litigation via a third bankruptcy filing. J&J has set aside an $11 billion reserve to cover all its talc liabilities.

Future Steps:

Erik Haas, J&J’s worldwide vice president of litigation, stated that the company is pursuing multiple avenues to achieve a complete and final resolution of the talc litigation.

This includes continuing litigation or settlement for those who choose not to participate in the proposed bankruptcy resolution.

James Adam

James Adam, a noted business writer for CEO Times Magazine, specializes in insightful industry analysis and executive profiles. Known for his clear, concise style, James offers readers an expert perspective on global business trends and market dynamics.

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