Johnson & Johnson to pay $8.9 billion to settle lawsuits over ‘cancer-causing’ talc

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Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $8.9 billion to settle lawsuits claiming that its talcum powder products caused cancer. The move will potentially end the years-long legal fight over the issue.

The US-based pharmaceutical and baby products company said that the proposed settlement, which still needs the approval of a bankruptcy court, “will equitably and efficiently resolve all claims arising from cosmetic talc litigation”. 

Johnson & Johnson faces tens of thousands of lawsuits in North America as people claimed that the baby powder and other talc-based products cause cancer. 

J&J has never admitted wrongdoing, but the company stopped selling its talc-based baby powder in the United States and Canada in May 2020. 

A company release mentioned that the claims related to cancer are premised on the allegation that cosmetic talc causes ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. J&J claims this has been rejected by independent experts as well as governmental and regulatory bodies for decades. 

Erik Haas, J&J’s vice president of litigation, said in a statement: “The company continues to believe that these claims are specious and lack scientific merit.” 

Haas added, “However, as the Bankruptcy Court recognised, resolving these cases in the tort system would take decades and impose significant costs on LTL and the system, with most claimants never receiving any compensation.” 

“Resolving this matter through the proposed reorganisation plan is both more equitable and more efficient, allows claimants to be compensated in a timely manner, and enables the Company to remain focused on our commitment to profoundly and positively impact health for humanity,” it added. 

The company said that its subsidiary LTL Management LLC has re-filed for voluntary bankruptcy protection to obtain approval of a reorganisation plan that “will equitably and efficiently resolve all claims arising from cosmetic talc litigation”. 

The company said that the amount is an increase of $6.9 billion over the $2 billion previously committed in connection with LTL’s initial bankruptcy filing in October 2021. 

(With inputs from agencies) 

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