Johnson & Johnson To Discontinue Talc-based Baby Powder

Healthcare major Johnson & Johnson, which is in the middle of a talcum powder fiasco, said it is discontinuing talc-based JOHNSON’S Baby Powder globally in 2023. The company plans to transition to an all cornstarch-based baby powder portfolio.

According to the company, the commercial decision to use cornstarch in all its baby powder products was made after conducting an assessment of its portfolio to best position the business for long-term growth. Cornstarch-based JOHNSON’S Baby Powder is already in sale in various countries.

In a statement, the company said, “Our position on the safety of our cosmetic talc remains unchanged. We stand firmly behind the decades of independent scientific analysis by medical experts around the world that confirms talc-based JOHNSON’S Baby Powder is safe, does not contain asbestos, and does not cause cancer.”

The news comes as the company is currently battling around 40,300 lawsuits against its talcum powder which allegedly contains asbestos and has caused ovarian cancers or mesothelioma to thousand of women during its decades of production.

The company has been facing a drop in demand due to the ongoing lawsuits. It reportedly had recalled some bottles, and discontinued sales of its talc-based baby powder in 2020.

In February, a New Jersey bankruptcy court had upheld Johnson & Johnson’s bankruptcy claim to handle the talcum powder cases. As per the judge, LTL Management, a JNJ subsidiary created to handle the lawsuit alone, is right in the chapter 11 filing.

J&J proposed a $2 billion settlement for the case, much less than what the company would’ve had to pay if the strategy were not granted by the court. The company, which still claims that the talc is not harmful, reportedly expects the litigation of the deluge of cases would cost it $190 billion.

The original verdict of $4.7 billion was awarded by a Missouri jury in 2018 after 22 women blamed Johnson and Johnson for using asbestos in their talcum powders and baby products, which has led to their ovarian cancer.

Johnson & Johnson now said it expects the transition to help simplify its product offerings, deliver sustainable innovation, and meet the needs of consumers, customers and evolving global trends.

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