Johnson & Johnson To Settle Massive Lawsuit for $700 Million

( – For decades, parents put Johnson & Johnson talc-based baby powder on themselves and their children. Then people began developing cancer. Consumers sued the company, and it has now reached an agreement.

On June 11, Matthew Platkin, the Democratic attorney general of New Jersey, announced he and 42 other attorneys general reached a $700 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson. The settlement resolves all of the allegations against the company for the marketing of its talc-based body powder and baby powder products.

The states claimed the company launched a marketing campaign that targeted teenage girls and women, claiming they were “safe, pure, and gentle for daily use, including around the genital area.” Platkin explained that Johnson & Johnson knew that women who used the powders around their private areas were at an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. The company also reportedly knew the powder sometimes had carcinogenic asbestos in it. The lawsuit found the company records showed they knew about the danger as far back as the 1950s.

Other companies placed warning labels on their powders and switched to cornstarch. But Johnson & Johnson did not follow their lead. Instead, the company continued to market it the same as it always had and even began targeting minority women with its advertising to try to save its falling sales. Johnson & Johnson didn’t stop selling the powder until May 2020, after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found asbestos in a bottle of the powder.

As part of the massive settlement, Johnson & Johnson is no longer allowed to manufacture, promote, sell, or distribute talc powder in the US. New Jersey will receive more than $30 million from the settlement. Illinois will get $29 million.

Platkin said the “company blatantly promoted the products as safe and pure while possessing internal information” about the danger it posed to women. He called the company’s actions “an egregious betrayal of consumer trust” that shouldn’t have happened.

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