Beginning in calendar year 2023, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) will cease the sale of baby powder with talc worldwide. The company previously ceased the sale of both in the United States and Canada. The action is in response to thousands of lawsuits claiming the product causes cancer. The talc portion of the product will be replaced by cornstarch.
J&J has been the target of litigation alleging the talcum powder has caused users to develop ovarian cancer through use with hygiene or develop mesothelioma which strikes the lungs and other organs. J&J insists the talc portion of the product is safe and doesn’t cause cancer. The allegations the talc caused ovarian cancer or mesothelioma resulted in demand for the product falling domestically and as a result the product was pulled from North American shelves in August of 2020. J&J blames that drop in demand to litigation-based advertising causing global concern over the safety of the product.
In October 2021 J&J reported a separate subsidiary created to manage talc litigation had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company said it funded the subsidiary named LTL Management with a $2 Billion trust to pay claims the bankruptcy court determines it owes. The health care conglomerate will turn its consumer health business which includes baby powder and band-aids into a separate publicly traded company while retaining the portion of the company selling prescription and medical devices under the current name.
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