J&J to drop baby powder amid major pressure – Reuters

Health giant says it will switch to cornstarch-based baby powder products after a ‘global portfolio review’

Pharmaceutical conglomerate Johnson & Johnson has announced it will discontinue its talc-based baby powder globally and use cornstarch instead, as mounting lawsuits against the company accuse it of hiding the product-related cancer risks.

The company said on Thursday that the transition from talc to cornstarch was a “business decision” after conducting a portfolio assessment and arguing that talcum powder baby powder was completely safe.

“We continuously evaluate and optimize our portfolio to best position the business for long-term growth,” J&J spokeswoman Melissa Witt said in a statement. “Today’s decision is part of a global portfolio assessment, which assessed several factors, including differences in demand for our products between geographic regions and changing consumer trends and preferences.”

J&J had already stopped talc-based baby powders in the United States and Canada two years ago after what he said was “disinformation” on its safety, but the latest move would end sales and production worldwide. Witt said the products will be discontinued in 2023.

In 2019, J&J also voluntarily recalled some 33,000 bottles of baby powder after the United States Food and Drug Administration found traces of asbestos in the product. The company, however, maintained that it had issued the recall “out of an abundance of caution.”

“Our position on the safety of our cosmetic talc remains unchanged,” the company said on Friday. “We strongly support decades of independent scientific analysis by medical experts around the world confirming that Johnson’s talc-based baby powder is safe, contains no asbestos and does not cause cancer.”

J&J currently faces approximately 38,000 lawsuits alleging talc products have caused cancer due to contamination with asbestos, a well-known carcinogen. According to a 2018 Reuters investigation, the healthcare giant had known for decades, since at least 1971, that its talc-based baby powders contained traces of the toxic chemical.

The company nevertheless denied the claims, insisting that testing and regulatory approvals showed its talc to be safe and asbestos-free.

In October 2021, J&J created a subsidiary, LTL Management, to which it assigned all talc-related lawsuits, and immediately filed the company for bankruptcy, suspending all legal actions against the pharmaceutical conglomerate.

As Reuters pointed out, prior to the bankruptcy filing, the company was facing costs of more than $3.5 billion in verdicts and settlements, including a court ruling awarding 22 women more than $2 billion. .

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