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Johnson & Johnson has offered a nearly $9 billion payout to resolve thousands of lawsuits in North America claiming that baby powder and other talc-based products are causing cancer. The company still believes the claims are “specious” but wants to settle to end the ongoing legal battle. The company previously offered $2 billion to settle the cases.
Erik Haas, the company’s worldwide vice president of litigation, said that the company feels that the claims lack merit.
“The company continues to believe that these claims are specious and lack scientific merit,” Haas said. “Resolving these cases in the court system would take decades and impose significant costs on LTL and the system, with most claimants never receiving any compensation.”
Currently, Johnson & Johnson faces over 40,000 lawsuits from consumers. These lawsuits allege that the company’s talc-based baby powder caused cancer. There are also claims about the presence of cancer-causing asbestos in these products.
Johnson & Johnson created a subsidiary responsible for resolving claims in bankruptcy court in 2021. However, efforts failed after a bankruptcy court ruling found the subsidiary was financially sound and could not use the bankruptcy system to resolve these lawsuits.
The talcum powder, commonly applied to prevent nappy rash and for other cosmetic uses, has not been sold in the U.S. since 2020. Johnson & Johnson still sells the cornstarch version of the powder.
The company suggests that the demand for the product has dwindled due to the spread of misinformation, and it plans to end sales of these products globally. The product was sold for well over a century before the halt.
The settlement will allow Johnson & Johnson to move forward and avoid consistent negative press coverage. In one of the major lawsuits filed by Donna Olson, which reached a conclusion, the company was slapped with considerable fines and responsibility. However, the decision was reversed by an appellate court.
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