Johnson & Johnson to halt sales of baby powder in US, Canada

WION Web Team
New York, United States Published: May 20, 2020, 10:50 AM(IST)

Bottles of Johnson's baby powder Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The move comes after years of litigation where Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay out billions of dollars in compensation.

Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson will stop selling its talc-based Johnson's Baby Powder in the US and Canada.

The move comes after years of litigation where Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay out billions of dollars in compensation.

The company faces more than 19,000 lawsuits from consumers and their survivors claiming its talc products caused cancer due to contamination with asbestos, a known carcinogen. 

It has long denied claims that the talc powder it uses contains cancer-causing asbestos, but has nonetheless been taken to court several thousands of times over the allegations.

In a statement, Johnson & Johnson said it remained "steadfastly confident" in the product's safety and would "vigorously" defend against the lawsuits, noting that all guilty verdicts passed against the company have been overturned.

"As part of a portfolio assessment related to COVID-19, in March, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health stopped shipping hundreds of items in the US and Canada to prioritize high-demand products and to allow for appropriate social distancing in manufacturing and distribution facilities," the statement said.

Johnson & Johnson said it would wind down sales of the product, which makes up about 0.5 per cent of its US consumer health business, in the coming months, but that retailers would continue to sell existing inventory.

"Demand for talc-based Johnson's Baby Powder in North America has been declining due in large part to changes in consumer habits and fueled by misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising," the company said.

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