The pharmaceutical Johnson & Johnson announced this Thursday that in 2023 it will suspend the sale of its baby talcum powder worldwide, two years after doing it in the US and Canada plagued by thousands of complaints about product safety.
In a short note, the company said it has made a “business decision” to substitute cornstarch for talc on this children’s product after receiving some 38,000 lawsuits linking its long-term use to the development of cancer, though it continued to deny that’s the cause.
At the end of 2018, information appeared indicating that J&J had known for decades that its talcum powder contained asbestos, a mineral with a composition and characteristics similar to those of asbestos and with harmful effects on health.
Since then, J&J has faced thousands of lawsuits accusing the manufacturer of having contributed to the development of ovarian cancer in consumersan extreme that the company rejects and that each year has led it to spend millions of dollars in litigation.
“Our position on the safety of our cosmetic talc remains unchanged. We stand firmly behind the decades of scientific analysis by medical experts around the world confirming that Johnson’s baby powder is safe, contains no asbestos, and does not cause cancer,” the firm stated.
The company faces other legal problems in the US and agreed earlier this year to pay millions of dollars to several states, together with other large drug distributors, for his responsibility in the opioid crisis.
The company has been condemned several timesone of them in 2018 by a jury that sentenced her to pay 4.4 billion dollars to 22 plaintiffs for damages.
In June 2020, an appeal court from Missouri reduced this amount considering that some plaintiffs, having no ties to the state, they should not have been included in the trial.
However, the court found that the group had “knowingly sold asbestos-containing products to consumers”, causing “great physical, mental and emotional distress”.
Johnson & Johnson filed a appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case, and then to the highest court in the countrywhich did the same on Tuesday.
Previously, the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled against J&J’s request for annul the compensatory and punitive indemnities awarded to the plaintiffs, but reduced the total to $2.12 billion from the $4.69 billion originally decided by a jury.
(With information from EFE)
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