Johnson & Johnson is willing to pay $9 billion to resolve talc lawsuits

Johnson & Johnson Lawsuit Talc

According to media reports, US pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has suggested paying over $9 billion to settle tens of thousands of cases in North America alleging that its baby powder and other talc-based products cause cancer.

The healthcare company said it still felt the charges were “speculative,” but hoped the fresh settlement offer would help it end its legal struggle, according to the BBC.

The number is a significant increase above the earlier proposal of $2 billion.

According to the report, the new offer has received strong backing from everyone involved in the case.

More than 40,000 lawsuits have been filed against the corporation by former customers who claim that using its talc-based baby powder caused cancer, including those who claim the product included cancer-causing asbestos.

It discontinued distribution of its talc-based baby powder in the United States in 2020, blaming “misinformation” that had slashed demand for the product, which was used to reduce diaper rash and for other cosmetic purposes such as dry shampoo.

It revealed plans to stop worldwide sales last year.

Prior to that decision, the firm had been selling baby powder for about 130 years. It still sells a cornstarch-containing version of the product.

Since 2021, the corporation has been attempting to settle the cases in bankruptcy court after establishing a subsidiary to handle the claims.

Nevertheless, its attempts were thwarted when an earlier bankruptcy court order determined that the subsidiary was not in financial difficulty and so could not use the bankruptcy system to settle the cases.

“The company continues to believe that these claims are specious and lack scientific merit,” said Erik Haas, worldwide vice president of litigation for Johnson & Johnson.

“Resolving this matter through the proposed reorganisation plan is both more equitable and more efficient, allows claimants to be compensated in a timely manner, and enables the company to remain focused on our commitment to profoundly and positively impact health for humanity.”

Johnson & Johnson stated that it has won the bulk of the talc litigation brought against it. Yet, it has suffered substantial defeats, including one ruling in which 22 women were awarded more than $2 billion in damages.

According to the corporation, it has agreements from about 60,000 current claimants to support the revised settlement conditions.