Johnson & Johnson ends sales of baby powder worldwide

The company had previously done the same in North America amid a flurry of lawsuits.

Johnson & Johnson will withdraw baby powder containing talc worldwide next year after doing the same in the United States and Canada amid thousands of lawsuits claiming it causes cancer.

Talc will be replaced with cornstarch, the company said.

The company has faced litigation alleging that its talcum powder has caused users to develop ovarian cancer, due to its use for feminine hygiene, or mesothelioma, a cancer that strikes the lungs and… other organs.

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J&J insists, and the overwhelming majority of medical research on talc indicates, that baby talcum powder is safe and does not cause cancer.

However, demand for the company’s baby powder plummeted, and J&J retired the talc-based product in most of North America in 2020.

The company did so after seeing demand plummet due to “misleading publicity about talc litigation that has caused global confusion and unfounded concerns,” a company spokeswoman said of the incident. product safety.

J&J said the change announced Thursday evening will simplify its product selection and respond to changing global trends.

Last October, J&J said a separate subsidiary it created to handle talc-related litigation had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

J&J then said it funded the subsidiary, named LTL Management, and established a $2 billion trust to pay the debts the bankruptcy court determines it owes.

The healthcare giant also said last fall that it would spin its consumer healthcare business – which sells baby powder, bandages and other products – into a separate, publicly traded company. The part of the business that sells prescription drugs and medical devices will retain the J&J name.

Shares of Johnson & Johnson, based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, rose slightly ahead of the opening bell on Friday. The stock has outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average, of which J&J is a member, for most of the year.

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