In a legal battle that has made headlines for years, Johnson & Johnson has finally come to a settlement with the nearly 70,000 consumers who allege that its talc-based products caused ovarian cancer. The lawsuits claimed that the company knew about the potential risks but failed to warn consumers. According to a recent The New York Times report, the company has just reached an $8.9 billion dollar settlement to be paid out over the course of the next 25 years.
However, a recent bankruptcy request by the company must be approved by courts and the majority of plaintiffs must agree to the terms. The first lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson regarding talc and ovarian cancer was filed in 2013. Since then, thousands of women have filed similar lawsuits against the company.
In 2018, a Missouri jury awarded $4.7 billion in damages to 22 women who believe the talcum powder caused their ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson has denied that its talcum powder products cause cancer and has appealed many of the verdicts against it. However, they’ve also faced criticism for allegedly withholding information about the potential risks of talc from consumers and regulators. In 2020, the company announced it would stop selling talc-based baby powder in the United States and Canada, citing declining sales and a “constant barrage of litigation advertising.”
In a statement by the plaintiff’s lawyers, the settlement was described as a “significant victory.” However, some of the plaintiffs found it to be too small of an amount and overall harmful for the victims to accept. According to the report, Johnson & Johnson said the settlement plan was not an admission of wrongdoing.