As of January 3, 2021, pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson, faced 25,000 lawsuits over its baby powder in the United States. On Monday, February 22nd, the company put aside $3.9 billion to deal with litigation and claims that its talc-based baby powder contained asbestos and caused cancer in certain consumers.
Higher Court Costs Than the Previous Year
The $3.9 billion-reserve is higher than the $400 million J&J dedicated to litigation last year (in 2019), but the company said lawsuits related to its baby powder “continue to increase.” Allegations linking baby powder to asbestos and cancer first came to light in 2018, and the Reuters exposé about J&J inspired a stock selloff that caused the company to lose $40 billion of its market value in a single day. This damning piece of journalism alleges that Johnson & Johnson knew its talc powders could be contaminated with cancer-causing asbestos as early as 1971.
Nevertheless, the company went nearly 50 years without warning consumers or removing its potentially dangerous products from the market.
Recalls and Major Losses
In October 2019, J&J recalled about 33,000 bottles of talc-based baby powder after one bottle tested positive for talc. The company issued a statement saying it “remains steadfastly confident in the safety of talc-based Johnson's Baby Powder.” Plaintiffs – and courts – seem to disagree.
One court ordered J&J to pay $2.1 billion to a class of 22 women who developed ovarian cancer after using the company’s talc powder, and many more consolidated cases are pending in federal court. The aforementioned settlement was reduced from $4.69 billion, but courtroom proceedings revealed the company engaged in aggressive marketing toward women of color “despite growing concerns about carcinogenic agents.”
Is $3.9 Billion Enough?
When it comes to talc-based baby powder, Johnson & Johnson’s reputation has been all but destroyed. The company announced it would discontinue North American sales of its talc-based baby powders in May 2020, but cancer-ridden victims continue to come forward.
The company plans to face a financial reckoning, but settlements could be even higher than what J&J is planning for. Only time will tell.
Still, due to the potential of large settlements in the coming year, Rash Mueller encourages anyone who has developed ovarian cancer or fallopian tube cancer after regularly using J&J talc powders to come forward as soon as possible.
Our aggressive, trial-tested attorneys are ready to fight for you and your family throughout your talcum powder lawsuit.
Call us at (954) 914-7116 or contact us online for a free, confidential consultation.