Powder to the people! Johnson and Johnson agrees to pay $700million to settle claims its talc powder caused cancers and was laced with asbestos


Johnson and Johnson has agreed to pay arout $700million to dozens of states to settle claims it misled consumers over the safety of its talc baby powders.

As part of the agreement, 42 states and Washington D.C. will no longer pursue a marketing investigation alleging the pharma giant covered up the product’s links to cancer.

The company is still facing lawsuits from more than 50,000 people who suffered developed tumors after using the powder, mostly women with ovarian cancer and could be forced to pay out billions in settlements.

J&J, based in New Jersey, has admitted no wrongdoing and continues to insist that its talcum powder was safe, did not contain asbestos and did not cause cancer.

The Wall Street Journal revealed the agreement, with J&J’s chief financial officer telling the publication that, in terms of the legal battle with states, it would ‘reasonably put the matter behind us’.

Talc is a naturally occurring mineral that absorbs moisture and reduces friction, making it useful for keeping skin dry and helping to prevent rashes.

It was used to make J&J’s baby powder, which was popular for decades because it helped infants avoid diaper rash and adults avoid chafing.

But the mineral, which is mined from the Earth, can contain small amounts of asbestos in its natural form — a carcinogen known to cause cancers when repeatedly inhaled.

Once asbestos fibers enter the body, they can lodge in soft tissue permanently, causing severe cellular damage and inflammation over time.

This can happen either via inhalation, or via particles from the powder migrating deep into the body after being applied to the genital area.

J&J will pay the money in the settlement to the 42 states and Washington D.C. who brought the action.

Mississippi and New Mexico did not take part in the group effort and are seeking a larger sum — with their cases still ongoing.

Mississippi is suing J&J for $6billion over the 6million bottles of baby powder in sold in the state for five decades from 1974 that did not carry a cancer warning. It’s sum is based on the state’s $1,000-per-bottle fine system.

Money paid out in the agreement will go into state coffers to be used to help fund enforcement and regulatory efforts of drugs and other products.

The settlement only covers a small portion of its legal challenges. J&J tried twice without success to use bankruptcy courts to limit its exposure to talc litigation brought by cancer patients who say their tumors were fueled by talc powder.

Many of the claims are being brought by women who say they developed ovarian cancer because of the powder, or people who were diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer around the heart that can be caused by inhaling toxic asbestos.

Among them is 56-year-old Lora Stahl from Nebraska, who claims she had to have a hysterectomy and was robbed of the chance to grow her family after the baby powder caused a cancerous tumor to form in her ovaries.

She was diagnosed with stage two ovarian cancer at the age of 35, with doctors having to remover her uterus, cervix and ovaries to halt the disease’s spread.

Speaking to DailyMail.com, she said: ‘I was still in my childbearing years, my husband and I were still young. I was lying there, and it just hit me, “Oh, my gosh, I can’t have kids anymore. We’re done having a family, we don’t have a choice. It’s not my choice anymore.”’

Another claimant is 24-year-old Emory Valadez from California, who said the firm’s baby powder caused him to develop a rare and deadly cancer.

The Oakland local said heavy exposure to talcum products from childhood caused his mesothelioma.

A judge awarded him $18.8million in damages for his medical bills, pain and suffering, though he is unlikely to live long enough to receive any of that compensation.

Most mesothelioma patients don’t live for more than four to 18 months after diagnosis.

Other cases previously settled include a jury awarding $4.69billion in July 2018 to 22 women who said asbestos in the product caused them to develop ovarian cancer.

The pharmacy giant is also facing action from shareholders who claim the company concealed its knowledge of its talcum powder containing cancer-causing asbestos for six years — or from 2013 until 2018.

Studies have linked talcum powder to cancer from as early as 1971, when talc particles were found ‘deeply embedded’ in ovarian and cervical tumors.

Another paper was also published in 1982 which found women who used talcum powder had nearly double the risk of ovarian cancer.

J&J discontinued sales of its talcum powder in 2023, citing an increase in lawsuits and ‘misinformation’ over their safety. It now sells a cornstarch-based version.

Erik Haas, its worldwide vice-president of litigation, said: ‘Consistent with the plan we outlined last year, the company continues to pursue several paths to achieve a comprehensive and final resolution of the talc litigation.’


Article Source: Powder to the people! Johnson and Johnson agrees to pay $700million to settle claims its talc powder caused cancers and was laced with asbestos | Daily Mail Onlinea