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Johnson & Johnson to pay $8.9 billion to settle claims baby powder, other talc products caused cancer


(NEW YORK) — Johnson & Johnson announced Tuesday that the company has agreed to pay $8.9 billion over 25 years to settle “all current and future” claims that the company’s baby powder and other cosmetic talc products allegedly caused cancer.

The company announced in the securities filing that its subsidiary LTL Management, Inc. will be re-filing for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy to resolve the allegations. The filing is not an admission of wrongdoing and the company maintains its position that the talcum powder products are safe, according to the release.

Johnson & Johnson and its other affiliates did not file for bankruptcy protection and will continue to operate their businesses as usual, the release added.

“The Company continues to believe that these claims are specious and lack scientific merit,” Erik Haas, vice president of litigation at Johnson & Johnson, said in a statement, in part. “However, as the Bankruptcy Court recognized, resolving these cases in the tort system would take decades and impose significant costs on [the company] and the system, with most claimants never receiving any compensation.”

The announcement comes months after a federal appeals court ruled in January that the company could not use the bankruptcy court to resolve some 38,000 lawsuits that alleged the talc in its products caused ovarian cancer and mesothelioma, ABC News reported. At the time, the company said it planned on challenging the ruling.

Critics had urged the court to reject the legal maneuver, fearing it could prompt other big companies to avoid bringing mass tort lawsuits before juries.

In 2019, Johnson & Johnson recalled a shipment of baby powder when a sample tested positive for a trace amount of asbestos, according to an advisory from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Sales of the talc-based product ended in North America the following year.

The company announced last year that it would stop using talc in its baby powder worldwide in 2023 and that the ingredient would be replaced with cornstarch.

ABC News’ Aaron Katersky and Max Zahn contributed to this report.

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