42 States, J&J Finalize $700M Settlement Over Talc Marketing

June 14, 2024 by

Attorneys general in 42 states said they finalized a $700 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson over the marketing of its talcum powder products.

The settlement, announced in principle in January, resolves an investigation by the states and Washington D.C. into Johnson & Johnson’s alleged misleading of customers regarding the safety of its baby powder and other talc products.

Led by Florida, North Carolina and Texas, the settlement—to be paid over three years—is pending judicial approval. Johnson & Johnson admits no wrongdoing in the settlement and has repeatedly said it talc products did not cause cancer.

The New Jersey-based company faces thousands of lawsuits claiming its talc products did cause cancer, especially in women. One of the latest cases ended with a $260 million jury award to an Oregon woman who said she got mesothelioma from inhaling talc.

Meanwhile, J&J is trying to move forward with a third bankruptcy plan of a subsidiary set up to hold the the company’s talc liability. The company needs a large majority of claimants to agree with the plan, but last month a class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of J&J’s alleged cancer victims, claiming the pharmaceutical giant fraudulently manipulated the bankruptcy system.

Under the terms of the agreement with the states, J&J will not resume the manufacturing, marketing or sale—directly or indirectly—of products containing talc. J&J stopped selling talc-based products in the U.S. and Canada in 2020, and stopped globally in 2022. The company now uses cornstarch in its powder products.

“We have reached a landmark settlement with Johnson & Johnson ensuring that the company will abide by the law and take effective steps to protect consumers from potentially hazardous ingredients,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Texas will receive close to $61.6 million from the settlement.

Florida will receive $48 million. Attorney General Ashley Moody called the settlement a “major advancement for consumer product safety.” In North Carolina, the recipient of about $27 million from the settlement, Attorney General Josh Stein said he urged the state to “use these funds to help protect women’s health.”

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