Johnson & Johnson proposes to pay $6.5B to settle talc ovarian cancer lawsuits in US

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Johnson & Johnson on Wednesday proposed a plan to pay nearly $6.5 billion to resolve tens of thousands of lawsuits claiming that its cosmetic talc-based powder causes cancer. 

Through a bankruptcy filing of its subsidiary company, LTL Management, J&J will be able to resolve about 99.75% of the pending talc lawsuits against the company and its affiliates in the U.S. Courts have rebuffed J&J’s two previous efforts to resolve the lawsuits through the bankruptcy of the subsidiary created to absorb the company’s talc liability.

The $6.47 billion would be paid out over 25 years, which J&J claims would be a “far better recovery than the claimants stand to recover at trial.”

JOHNSON & JOHNSON TO PAY $8.9B TO RESOLVE CLAIMS BABY POWDER, TALC PRODUCTS CAUSED CANCER

As of July 2023, the company was facing more than 34,000 lawsuits linking its baby powder to ovarian cancer, asbestos poisoning and other illnesses, FOX Business previously reported. Asbestos is a known cause of mesothelioma, a cancer that forms in the tissue that lines internal organs. 

The company has maintained that its baby powder and other talc products don’t cause cancer or contain asbestos, 

“The company reiterates that none of the talc-related claims against it have merit. The claims are premised on the allegations that have been rejected by independent experts, as well as governmental and regulatory bodies, for decades,” J&J said Wednesday. 

JOHNSON & JOHNSON WEIGHING BANKRUPTCY PLAN AS IT CONSIDERS OFFLOADING BABY POWDER LIABILITIES: REPORT

However, lead lawyers for plaintiffs Leigh O’Dell and Michelle Parfitt, told Reuters in March that evidence showing the company’s products caused cancer is “stronger than ever.”

bottles of Johnson & Johnson baby powder

“The truth of J&J’s deceptive conduct to hide the presence of carcinogens in talcum powder and mislead the medical and scientific communities has only become clearer over time,” the lawyers said in a statement.

In 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) alerted consumers that Johnson’s baby powder was under a voluntary recall after FDA testing found that a sample from one lot of the product contained chrysotile fibers, a type of asbestos.

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Nearly all the suits the company is facing are related to ovarian cancer. The remaining pending personal injury lawsuits relate to mesothelioma, according to J&J.

Those suits are being addressed separately, though the company said it has resolved 95% of them to date. 

Reuters contributed to this report

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