J&J to discontinue baby powder amid major pressure — Analysis
The healthcare giant said it will transition to cornstarch-based baby powder products after a “worldwide portfolio assessment”
Pharmaceutical conglomerate Johnson & Johnson has announced it will be discontinuing its talc-based baby powder globally and will use cornstarch instead, as mounting lawsuits against the company accuse it of hiding cancer risks tied to the products.
On Thursday, the company stated that transitioning from talc into cornstarch had been completed. “commercial decision”It had completed an evaluation of the portfolio and determined that the talc-based powder for baby powder was 100% safe.
“We continuously evaluate and optimize our portfolio to best position the business for long-term growth,” said J&J spokesperson Melissa Witt in a statement. “Today’s decision is part of a worldwide portfolio assessment, which evaluated several factors, including differences in demand for our products across geographic regions and evolving consumer trends and preferences.”
J&J had already discontinued talc-based baby powders in the US and Canada two years ago after what it said was “misinformation”Its safety is not a concern, however the company announced that sales would be halted worldwide. Witt stated that products will be discontinued by 2023.
In 2019 J&J also voluntarily recalled some 33,000 bottles of baby powder after the US Food and Drug Administration found traces of asbestos within the product. The company claimed that the recall was issued by it. “out of an abundance of caution.”
“Our position on the safety of our cosmetic talc remains unchanged,”The company stated Friday. “We stand firmly behind decades of independent scientific analysis by medical experts around the world that confirm that talc-based Johnson’s baby powder is safe, does not contain asbestos, and does not cause cancer.”
J&J currently faces about 38,000 lawsuits alleging the talc products caused cancer due to contamination with asbestos – a well known carcinogen. A 2018 Reuters investigation revealed that the health company knew since 1971 at the very least, that its talcum powders were contaminated with the deadly chemical.
Although the company denies these allegations, it insists that regulatory approvals and tests have proven its talc safe and aspartame-free.
In October 2021 J&J created a subsidiary, LTL Management, to which it assigned all the talc lawsuits, and immediately put the company into bankruptcy, pausing all legal actions against the pharmaceutical conglomerate.
Reuters points out that before filing for bankruptcy, the company was hit with more than $3.5 billion of verdicts and settlements. One such court decision awarded over $2 billion to 22 women.
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