According to the New York Post, pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson allocated $3.9 billion in funds to settle talc mesothelioma lawsuits.
The news is further proof the company may settle thousands of cancer claims. Most, if not all, stem from the company’s talc Baby Powder product. Studies show that talc is frequently contaminated with asbestos, which can cause the deadly cancer known as mesothelioma.
Johnson & Johnson ended production of its talc Baby Powder product — and other talc-based offerings — last May for United States and Canada consumer markets. The decision occurred after mesothelioma lawsuits piled on, reaching the tens of thousands.
The New York Post reported that Johnson & Johnson allocated these funds for litigation expenses. The company faces around 25,000 cancer claims, according to the news outlet. It’s unknown how many involve mesothelioma.
The company settled more than 1,000 talc cancer claims in 2020. That move plus the allocation of funds shows Johnson & Johnson likely will settle thousands more to avoid massive lawsuit verdicts.
Johnson & Johnson previously tried fighting mesothelioma lawsuits related to its talc products. Many didn’t end well for the company:
- One victim received nearly $30 million from a California jury.
- A group of victims received $4.7 billion in 2019.
- A New York jury awarded $325 million to a victim, mostly in punitive damages.
- A New Jersey jury slammed Johnson & Johnson with a $750 million verdict in 2020. Most of the amount was from punitive damages. Four people with mesothelioma filed the claim.
There are other Johnson & Johnson lawsuits resulting in multi-million-dollar mesothelioma verdicts. Settling these claims is often less expensive for defendants.
Explaining Asbestos in Talc
Asbestos contaminates talc due to their neighborly relationship. The two minerals cohabitate the earth’s soil in many of the same geographic areas. Mining for talc may include mining for asbestos by association.
Talc is ground into a powder for skincare purposes. This powder is added to products like makeup, eyeliner and cleansing powder. Johnson & Johnson’s Shower-to-Shower Powder also included talcum powder.
Turning talc into a powder can trap loose asbestos in the powder. Consumers using the product are exposed to these fibers, either swallowing or inhaling them. The sharp fibers then travel into sensitive cell linings and irritate tissue, forming cancer.
Sources & Author
- Johnson & Johnson sets aside $3.9B amid baby powder lawsuits. New York Post. Retrieved from: https://nypost.com/2021/02/23/johnson-johnson-reserves-3-9b-for-baby-powder-lawsuits/. Accessed: 02/25/2021.
Sources & Author