Johnson & Johnson To End Global Sales Of Talc-Based Baby Powder
The drugmaker Johnson & Johnson has decided to stop selling talc-based baby powder globally in 2023, over two years after it ended US sales of a product that drew thousands of consumer safety lawsuits.
“As part of a worldwide portfolio assessment, we have made the commercial decision to transition to an all cornstarch-based baby powder portfolio,” it said, adding that cornstarch-based baby powder is already sold in countries around the world.
In 2020, J&J announced that it would stop selling its talc Baby Powder in the United States and Canada because demand had fallen in the wake of what it called “misinformation” about the product’s safety amid a barrage of legal challenges. The company faces about 38,000 lawsuits from consumers and their survivors claiming its talc products caused cancer due to contamination with asbestos, a known carcinogen.
J&J denies the allegations, saying decades of scientific testing and regulatory approvals have shown its talc to be safe and asbestos-free. It reiterated the statement as it announced the discontinuation of the product. The company spun off subsidiary LTL Management in October, assigned its talc claims to it and immediately placed it into bankruptcy, pausing the pending lawsuits.
Before the bankruptcy filing, the company faced costs from USD 3.5 billion in verdicts and settlements, including one in which 22 women were awarded a judgment of more than USD 2 billion, according to bankruptcy court records. A 2018 Reuters investigation found that J&J knew for decades that asbestos, a carcinogen, was present in its talc products.
Internal company records, trial testimony and other evidence showed that from at least 1971 to the early 2000s, J&J’s raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos. In response to evidence of asbestos contamination presented in media reports, in the court room and on Capitol Hill, J&J has repeatedly said its talc products are safe, and do not cause cancer.
Operating in over 50 countries with more than 100,000 people, Johnson & Johnson USA has been ranked 4 times in the “Fortune Top 10” list of the most admired companies in the US. Johnson & Johnson (J&J) India, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson USA, is one of the leading players in the Indian pharmaceutical and consumer products business.
It started business in India in 1947 in Bombay with Johnson’s Baby Powder, and, over time, introduced other products like toothbrushes, Johnson’s Baby Cream and Prickly Heat Powder. Since its establishment as a modest 12 employee outfit, Johnson & Johnson India has gained a reputation for delivering high-quality products at competitive prices.
Today J&J is a household name with several popular brands like Band-Aid, J&J Baby Powder and Prickly Heat Powder. Stayfree Secure has become the leading sanitary napkin in the country with a volume market share of 46 per cent.