20 May 2020 00:45
Johnson & Johnson will stop selling its baby talcum powder in the US and Canada, where sales have dropped amid a wave of litigation claiming that the personal care product can cause cancer. The world's largest healthcare company said sales of the powder had dropped 60 per cent in the past three years, as it had been hit with thousands of lawsuits and billions of dollars in damages at trial over the claims. Kathleen Widmer, chairman of North America for Johnson & Johnson's consumer health division, said that advertising from lawyers seeking new clients to sue the company had confused customers and caused sales to fall. "Johnson's baby powder will continue to be sold in other markets where there's significantly higher demand, and where consumers are not confused by misleading litigation advertising," she said. J&J is facing almost 19,400 lawsuits related to the claims that its talcum powder can cause cancer.
Last year it pushed back on claims from the US regulator that it had found traces of asbestos in baby powder, saying new tests had shown no evidence of the known carcinogen. "Decades of scientific studies by medical experts around the world support the safety of our product," J&J said. "We will continue to vigorously defend the product, its safety and the unfounded allegations against it and the company in the courtroom." The company will continue to sell cornstarch-based baby powder in the US and Canada. The decision to drop talc-based baby powder came as J&J slims down its lines, in part because of the Covid-19 crisis. The phamaceutical giant continues to defend the product's safety, but says demand for the talc-based powder is declining Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday said it would stop selling its talcum-based Johnson's baby powder in the United States and Canada as part of a broad reassessment of its consumer product portfolio.
In a series of investigations by the New York Times and Reuters, internal documents from Johnson & Johnson revealed some company executives worried about the talcum products, including possible asbestos contamination, further government regulation and public backlash over health concerns. (Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) on Tuesday announced that it would stop selling its talc-based Johnson's Baby Powder in the United States and Canada, saying it was part of a broad reassessment of its consumer product portfolio prompted by the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. healthcare conglomerate said it would wind down sales of the product, which makes up about 0.5% of its U.S. consumer health business, in the coming months, but that retailers will continue to sell existing inventory. J&J faces more than 16,000 lawsuits from consumers claiming its talc products, including Johnson's Baby Powder, caused their cancer. The lawsuits allege that the company's talc products have been contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen.
"Demand for talc-based Johnson's Baby Powder in North America has been declining due in large part to changes in consumer habits and fueled by misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising,'' the company said in a statement. Corn-based baby powder however will still be available in North America, and it, along with its talc-based counterpart will continue to be sold globally, Johnson & Johnson said. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. by women who said that asbestos in talcum powders led to their being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. "Johnson & Johnson remains steadfastly confident in the safety of talc-based Johnson's Baby Powder,'' the company said. "Decades of scientific studies by medical experts around the world support the safety of our product.'' Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday that baby powder made up half a percent of its total consumer health business in the United States.