Johnson and Johnson To Pay Huge Cancer Settlement

( – Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson will dish out $700 million to resolve claims by a consortium of state attorneys general that its talcum powder caused cancer. Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul led the project along with 43 other state AGs. The settlement will allow the company to resolve accusations it misled consumers regarding the safety of its talcum powder in advertising.

Raoul said that all companies, regardless of size, “must be held accountable” if they have broken laws regarding consumer trust and safety in order to protect the integrity of the marketplace and the health of individuals in the community. Raoul is a Democrat.

Meanwhile Republican Florida AG Ashley Moody suggested the settlement was a big win for consumers and product safety in general. Democrat Maryland AG Anthony Brown said that some of the talc-based powder products contained trace amounts of the carcinogen asbestos and might be responsible for numerous cancers.

The company agreed to stop selling talc-based powder products as part of the settlement. Now they use a corn-starch base in their powder products. The switch over happened last year. The company did not admit to any wrongdoing in the settlement agreement which was key because there’s still 61,490 people still suing over the issue.

Even after settling with the bipartisan consortium, J&J will still face tens of thousands of additional claims by consumers or groups of them who are suing the company over claims related to its talcum powder products. There’s also a class action suit alleging the company deliberately and fraudulently hid knowledge of the dangers from company shareholders.

Most of the plaintiffs are women suffering from ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, both are correlated with exposure to asbestos. J&J has consistently claimed there’s no asbestos in its products.

The company stopped selling talc-based products in the U.S. in 2020, once the settlement is approved by the judge overseeing the case, they’ll be banned from using it ever again. J&J will also dish out individual payments to each state beginning in July.

Company vice president overseeing litigation Erik Hass said that they’re continuing to seek “comprehensive and final resolution” regarding all of the claims related to talc-based powders and that this settlement was a step towards that goal. Previous attempts to dodge liability have failed.

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