Johnson & Johnson will stop selling baby powder globally by 2023, the drugmaker said on Thursday, more than two years after it ended selling a product that has attracted thousands of lawsuits. consumer safety in the United States.
“As part of our worldwide portfolio review, we have made the commercial decision to transition to a completely cornstarch baby powder portfolio,” it added. Children made from cornstarch have been sold in countries around the world.
In 2020, J&J announced that it would stop selling its Baby Powder in the United States and Canada because demand had dropped following what it called “misinformation” about the product’s safety amid the a series of legal challenges.
The company faces about 38,000 lawsuits from consumers and their survivors claiming their talc products cause cancer due to asbestos contamination, a known carcinogen.
J&J denies the allegations, saying decades of scientific testing and regulatory approval have shown its talc to be safe and free of asbestos. On Thursday, it reiterated the statement when it announced the product discontinuation.
J&J spun off its subsidiary LTL Management in October, assigned its talc claims to it and immediately placed it in bankruptcy, halting pending lawsuits.
Prior to filing for bankruptcy, the company faced costs from $3.5 billion in judgments and settlements, including one in which 22 women were awarded a judgment worth more than $3.5 billion. $2 billion, according to bankruptcy court filings.
A shareholder proposal calling for an end to the global sale of baby powder failed in April.
A 2018 Reuters investigation found that J&J had known for decades that asbestos, a carcinogen, was present in its talc products. Internal company records, court testimony, and other evidence show that from at least 1971 through the early 2000s, J&J’s raw and finished talcum powder sometimes tested positive for small amount of asbestos.
As evidence of asbestos contamination has surfaced in media reports, in courtrooms and on Capitol Hill, J&J has repeatedly stated that its talc products are safe and do not cause cancer. .
Sold since 1894, Johnson’s Baby Powder has become a symbol of the company’s family-friendly image. An internal J&J marketing presentation from 1999 referred to the baby products division, with Baby Powder at its core, as J&J’s “No. 1 Asset,” according to Reuters, despite the powder. Children make up only about 0.5% of US consumers. health business as the company pulls it off the shelf.
(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Deepa Babington)