Johnson & Johnson to stop selling its ‘cancer-causing’ talc-based baby powder globally in 2023


US pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson on Thursday announced that it will be discontinuing the sales of its controversial talc-based baby powder globally in 2023. 

The announcement to cease the product sales globally comes two years after J&J halted its sales in USA and Canada. In a statement, the company added that it will be moving from talc-based powders to cornstarch-based baby powder. 

“As part of a worldwide portfolio assessment, we have made the commercial decision to transition to an all cornstarch-based baby powder portfolio. As a result of this transition, talc-based J&J Baby Powder will be discontinued globally in 2023.” read the company’s statement. 

For years, J&J talcum powders, especially baby powders have been at the centre of controversy for reportedly carrying cancer-causing carcinogenic materials, asbestos to be precise. Over 38,000 lawsuits have been filed by the consumers as well as the survivors who have been allegedly hurt by the use of the product.

Read more: Amid cancer scare, drug regulator body asks Johnson & Johnson not to use baby powder raw material

However, the pharma giant, in its statement continued to take the line that its product was safe, despite the termination of the sales. 

“Our position on the safety of our cosmetic talc remains unchanged. We stand firmly behind the decades of independent scientific analysis by medical experts around the world that confirms talc-based J&J Baby Powder is safe, does not contain asbestos, and does not cause cancer.”

A Reuters report previously revealed that J&J knew about the harmful effects of its product, according to internal memos circulated within the company. However, it doubled down on its sales by targeting the African American and overweight women market. 

J&J exploiting legal loopholes

Moreover, to avoid the lengthy lawsuits, J&J, in February this year, used a clever manoeuvre called ‘Texas two-step’ to receive a stay on the complaints. Reportedly, J&J unloaded the blame of its baby powder on a newly spanned subsidiary named LTL Management. 

The said company filed for bankruptcy and managed to receive the court’s nod for it. It is pertinent to note that in case of bankruptcy, individual lawsuits are put on hold and thus J&J managed to evade the legal process by using a loophole. 

Read more: Johnson & Johnson recalls several aerosol sunscreen products after detecting cancer-causing agent

(With inputs from agencies)

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