Johnson & Johnson, besieged by lawsuits, will cease promoting child powder made with talc within the U.S. and Canada, citing a decline in buyer demand amid security issues about one in all its most well-known merchandise.
The transfer comes as J&J faces hundreds of lawsuits alleging the talc powder has harmed girls who had used it for years. A number of the lawsuits have led to costly jury verdicts in opposition to the corporate.
J&J, which has been combating the lawsuits and verdicts and says its talc-containing powder is protected, will proceed to promote a cornstarch-based model of Johnson’s Child Powder within the U.S. and Canada. And the corporate will proceed to promote talc-containing and cornstarch child powder outdoors of these international locations, the place it says shopper demand is considerably larger.
“Demand for talc-based Johnson’s Child Powder in North America has been declining due largely to adjustments in shopper habits and fueled by misinformation across the security of the product and a continuing barrage of litigation promoting,” J&J mentioned Tuesday in an announcement.
J&J has been going through lawsuits alleging its talcum powder was answerable for most cancers in some girls who used it for female hygiene for years, and in individuals who inhaled it.
As of March, about 19,400 plaintiffs had filed lawsuits in opposition to the corporate over its talc-based powder in U.S. courts, alleging it induced ovarian most cancers and a uncommon most cancers in tissue surrounding the lungs referred to as mesothelioma.
“I’m delighted to listen to that they lastly began taking steps to take away talc-based child powder from the market,” mentioned Ted Meadows, an legal professional with the Beasley Allen regulation agency in Montgomery, Ala., who represents plaintiffs within the talc litigation.
He mentioned he hoped J&J would take steps to compensate hundreds of ladies he claims have been injured by the powder.
J&J didn’t give any indication that stopping gross sales would imply resolving the litigation. The corporate mentioned it might proceed to defend the product, its security and what it referred to as unfounded allegations in opposition to the product and the corporate in court docket.
The corporate, in denying the allegations and combating the lawsuits in court docket, has received some instances in court docket however misplaced some expensive verdicts, too.
In February, a New Jersey jury ordered J&J to pay $750 million in punitive damages to 4 individuals who mentioned their use of J&J’s talcum powders induced mesothelioma; the choose lowered the quantity to $186.5 million, and J&J is interesting the decision.
Johnson’s Child Powder represents about 0.5% of the corporate’s U.S. consumer-health gross sales. The enterprise reported almost $1.5 billion in gross sales final 12 months, a fraction of J&J’s greater than $82 billion in complete world gross sales for the 12 months.
J&J depends extra on prescription-drug and medical-device gross sales.
But Johnson’s is a well-liked model acquainted to generations of individuals. As a result of the product accommodates the Johnson identify, the detrimental publicity concerning the security issues have dented the corporate’s repute, surveys have discovered. And J&J shares have suffered over issues that its final legal responsibility can be hefty, though a few of its losses have been lowered or reversed on enchantment.
J&J additionally has faced an unusually large caseload of lawsuits over a spread of different merchandise in recent times.
The newborn-powder lawsuits have typically alleged that talc, a mineral that’s crushed to create Johnson’s Child Powder, could cause irritation that results in most cancers.
A number of the lawsuits additional allege that asbestos within the powder contributed to most cancers. Asbestos, a mineral as soon as extensively utilized in building, has been linked to elevated danger for mesothelioma.
J&J, of New Brunswick, N.J., has repeatedly mentioned its talcum powder doesn’t include asbestos. Final October, nonetheless, J&J recalled about 33,000 bottles of its child powder after the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration mentioned a laboratory take a look at discovered a small quantity of asbestos in a single bottle.
J&J mentioned it issued the recall out of an abundance of warning, and mentioned subsequent testing of the same bottle and lot by totally different labs discovered no asbestos.
J&J has tried to counter the allegations publicly by operating newspaper ads and creating a web site, “factsabouttalc.com,” with details about assessments that the corporate says assist the product’s security.
J&J mentioned Tuesday it might wind down commercialization of the talc-based powder within the U.S. and Canada within the coming months, and that current stock could be bought via retailers till it runs out.