Fairless Hills (US): Johnson & Johnson completes sale of its iconic talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in the U.S. and Canada, where demand has waned amid thousands of lawsuits claiming to have caused Cancer. The world’s largest health-care product maker said Tuesday that the talcum-based powder will still be sold outside the U.S.A. and Canada.
“Demand for talcum-based Johnson baby powder in North America has fallen due to major changes in consumer habits and driven by incorrect information about product safety and a constant barring of lawsuits on litigation,” the company said.
J&J faces about 19,400 cases alleging that its talcum powder caused users to develop ovarian cancer through use for feminine hygiene or mesothelioma, a cancer affecting the lungs and other organs. Of the cases that have been tried, J&J has had 12 wins, 15 losses and seven attempts. All the losses are either overturned on appeal or are still being appealed.
The company insists, and the overwhelming majority of medical research on talc indicates that the talc powder is safe and does not cause cancer.
“Whether the powder actually causes cancer or not, people were hesitant to use the product,” Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan’s business college, said in an email.
J&J spokeswoman Kimberly Montagnino said the company has no plans to settle any of the lawsuits and “will continue with vigorous defense” of the product.
The New Brunswick, New Jersey company said the baby powder decision came as it moves to discontinue approx. 100 consumer health products.
It said its goal is to prioritize high-demand products during the coronavirus outbreak and allow for social distancing in its manufacturing and distribution facilities.
J&J will still sell its less popular cornstarch-based baby powder in North America.