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States settle $700 million lawsuit over allegedly harmful talc-based Johnson & Johnson products

A lawsuit alleges that Johnson & Johnson failed to inform consumers that talc-based powders contained asbestos.
Johnson & Johnson-Settlement
Posted at 12:32 PM, Jun 12, 2024

Numerous state attorneys general are celebrating a multistate settlement reached with Johnson & Johnson after resolving allegations of deceptive marketing practices for products containing talc.

Talc was contained in popular Johnson & Johnson products such as baby powder and body powder.

As part of the settlement reached with 42 states and the District of Columbia, Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $700 million in damages. The agreement requires Johnson & Johnson to stop making, marketing, promoting, selling or distributing any talc-based baby and body powders in those states.

The settlement also allows Johnson & Johnson to deny any wrongdoing.

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The company can pay the settlement in four annual installments beginning this year.

District of Columbia Attorney General Brian Schwalb said Johnson & Johnson's talc-based powders showed "asbestos was present in the talc, and that the company failed to disclose that the asbestos in the talc is harmful and may lead to cancer."

Florida, Texas and North Carolina led the lawsuit, and the following states joined as co-plaintiffs: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

States will largely be paid based on population size. California will get the highest payout with $78 million.

"Johnson & Johnson knew that it could not ensure the safety of its products for women and children and chose to prioritize profit over honesty. It's unacceptable, and for the people who were harmed, it's devastating,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Today and every day, I take pride in serving the people of California and holding those who compromise consumer safety accountable.”

Ohio is set to get over $27.7 million.

“Transparency is non-negotiable when it comes to consumer safety,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said. “Selling harmful products without disclosing the risks is unacceptable and our legal action ensures companies are held accountable.”