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Johnson & Johnson to stop sales of baby powder in US and Canada amid cancer lawsuits

New Jersey-based firm faces thousands of lawsuits amid claims about alleged cancer risks

Gino Spocchia
Wednesday 20 May 2020 08:08

Johnson & Johnson will stop selling talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in the US and Canada, where demand has dwindled amid thousands of lawsuits claiming it has caused cancer.

The international pharmaceuticals producer said the talc-based powder will still be sold outside the US and Canada.

“Demand for talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in North America has been declining due in large part to changes in consumer habits and fuelled by misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising,” the company said.

The health care company faces about 19,400 lawsuits that allege its talcum powder has caused ovarian cancer in users.

J&J maintains that its products are safe, and that the decision was also made based on consumer demands during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Whether or not the powder actually causes cancer, people became hesitant to use the product,” said Erik Gordon, a professor at University of Michigan’s business school, said in an email.

J&J spokeswoman Kimberly Montagnino said the company doesn’t plan to settle any of the lawsuits and “will continue to vigorously defend” the product.

The New Brunswick, New Jersey, company said the baby powder decision came as it moves to discontinue about 100 consumer health products in a bid to prioritise making products people want.

J&J will still sell cornstarch-based baby powder in North America.

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