Johnson & Johnson will pay US$700 million to resolve baby powder marketing probe, report says

World News

The pharmaceutical company will pay an estimated US$700 million to resolve an investigation by more than 40 states into the pharmaceutical firm’s marketing of its talcum powder, according to Bloomberg, following thousands of lawsuits alleging it failed to warn customers about cancer risks.
The pharmaceutical firm faces thousands of lawsuits alleging its talcum powder poses cancer risks. GETTY IMAGES
Key facts
  • The tentative agreement will end an ongoing probe into Johnson & Johnson’s talcum-based baby powder and whether the company wrongfully marketed the product, according to Bloomberg, which cited people familiar with the deal.
  • The company and representatives for state attorneys general involved in the investigation have agreed on the settlement amount but not other terms for the agreement, Bloomberg reported.
  • The agreement is expected to protect the company from future lawsuits involving its talc-based baby powder and alleged cancer risks.
  • The pharmaceutical company did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes.
Big number

50,000. That’s how many lawsuits Johnson & Johnson faces over its talcum-based baby powder, according to Reuters.

Several cases allege the powder caused several forms of cancer, including ovarian and mesothelioma.

Key background

The company faces allegations it failed to properly warn consumers about potential health risks associated with its talc-based baby powder, including alleged cancer risks.

Both Mississippi and New Mexico have sued the company over its marketing, as 42 states and the District of Columbia launched a joint investigation, according to a securities filing.

Attorneys general from several states, including Arizona, North Carolina and Texas, have requested additional information from the company about its marketing tactics, the filing said.

Johnson & Johnson—which denies claims against its powder—set aside $8.9 billion in its bankruptcy filing last year to resolve some 40,000 cases, though that plan was subsequently shot down by a New Jersey judge.


In 2018, a Missouri court ordered the pharmaceutical company to pay nearly $4.7 billion to 22 women claiming asbestos in the company’s talcum powder was linked to their cases of ovarian cancer.

The judge involved in the case suggested the company had “misrepresented the safety of these products for decades.” Johnson & Johnson appealed the ruling, though the effort was shot down by the Supreme Court.

This article was first published on and all figures are in USD.

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