Johnson & Johnson will stop selling and manufacturing talc-based baby powder internationally, two years after it discontinued sales in the United States and Canada.
Tens of thousands of lawsuits have been filed against the healthcare company by people who claim that its talc products, notably the immediately recognizable brand of Johnson’s baby powder, caused them to acquire cancer.
“We have made the commercial decision to shift to an all cornstarch-based baby powder portfolio as part of a worldwide portfolio evaluation,” the business stated in a statement. “Talc-based Johnson’s baby powder will be phased out internationally in 2023 as a result of this change.”
In 2020, the firm stated that it will no longer offer the talc-based version in North America due to a drop in demand caused by “misinformation” regarding the product’s safety and legal problems.
This was followed by J&J is recalling a batch of baby powder voluntarily after US Food and Drug Administration officials discovered tiny quantities of asbestos in the product. The business announced the recall of 33,000 bottles of talcum powder “out of an excess of caution.”
J&J, which stated that it previously distributed the cornstarch-based baby powder all over the world, said that the talc-based baby powder did not cause cancer.
The business stated, “Our view on the safety of our cosmetic talc remains unaltered.” “We fully support decades of independent scientific investigation by medical professionals all around the globe confirming that talc-based Johnson’s baby powder is safe, does not contain asbestos, and does not cause cancer.”
J&J, which is facing over 38,000 lawsuits, stated that the decision to discontinue sales was made to “optimise” its product range.
“We are always reviewing and optimizing our portfolio to best position the firm for long-term development,” the company stated. “This shift will aid in the simplification of our product offerings, the delivery of sustainable innovation, and the meeting of the demands of our consumers, customers, and developing global trends.”
A shareholder resolution to halt global sales of talc baby powder failed in April. In October, J&J formed a subsidiary, LTL Management, allocated the talc claims to it, and declared bankruptcy, putting the legal actions on hold.
Prior to filing for bankruptcy, the corporation faced fines ranging from $3.5 billion (£2.9 billion) in judgements and settlements, including one in which 22 women were granted a judgment of more than $2 billion.
Johnson’s baby powder has been on the market since 1894 and has come to represent the company’s family-friendly image.