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‘Cancer-causing’ talc-based baby powder to be discontinued by Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, announced on Thursday that it will end global sales of its controversial talc-based baby powder in 2023. J&J announced the global product sales halt two years ago. In a statement, the company stated that it will transition from talc-based powders to cornstarch-based baby powder.

‘We made the commercial decision to transition to an all cornstarch-based baby powder portfolio as part of a global portfolio assessment. As a result of this transition, talc-based J&J Baby Powder will be phased out globally in 2023 ‘,¬†read the company’s statement.

For years, J&J talcum powders, particularly baby powders, have been the subject of controversy for allegedly containing cancer-causing carcinogenic materials, specifically asbestos. Over 38,000 lawsuits have been filed by consumers and survivors who claim to have been harmed by the use of the product. Despite the termination of sales, the pharma giant maintained in its statement that its product was safe.

‘Our stance on the safety of our cosmetic talc has not changed. We firmly believe that the decades of independent scientific analysis conducted by medical experts around the world confirm that talc-based J&J Baby Powder is safe, does not contain asbestos, and does not cause cancer’. According to internal memos circulated within the company, J&J was aware of the harmful effects of its product, according to a previous Reuters report. However, it increased its sales by focusing on the African American and overweight women markets.

J&J abusing legal loopholes.
Furthermore, in order to avoid the lengthy lawsuits, J&J used a clever manoeuvre known as the ‘Texas two-step’ in February of this year to obtain a stay on the complaints. According to reports, J&J blamed its baby powder on a newly spanned subsidiary called LTL Management. The aforementioned company filed for bankruptcy and received approval from the court. It is worth noting that in the event of bankruptcy, individual lawsuits are put on hold, and thus J&J managed to avoid the legal process by exploiting a loophole.


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