Johnson & Johnson To Pay $6.5B To Settle Nearly All Talc Ovarian Cancer Lawsuits

Johnson & Johnson Voluntarily Recalls Baby Powder For Asbestos Contamination
SAN ANSELMO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 18: In this photo illustration, a container of Johnson's baby powder made by Johnson and Johnson sits on a table on October 18, 2019 in San Anselmo, California. Johnson & Johnson, the maker of Johnson's baby powder, announced a voluntary recall of 33,000 bottles of baby powder after federal regulators found trace amounts of asbestos in a single bottle of the product. (Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Johnson & Johnson Voluntarily Recalls Baby Powder For Asbestos Contamination SAN ANSELMO, CALIFORNIA (Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

OAN’s Abril Elfi
12:40 PM – Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Johnson & Johnson stated that they are planning to pay $6.5 billion to settle nearly all the lawsuits in the United States that have claimed talc-based products caused them ovarian cancer. 


On Wednesday, the company said it plans to pay $6.5 billion over 25 years to settle nearly all of the thousands of lawsuits in the U.S. claiming its talc-based products caused ovarian cancer, pending approval of the claimants.

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) had discontinued the sales of its baby powder in 2020 in the United States. In 2023, it ceased worldwide distribution. The company now sells a cornstarch-based formula instead.

In mines, talc is a naturally occurring mineral that may be found with asbestos. Reuters and the New York Times‘ investigations revealed that J&J had been concerned for decades about asbestos contamination in their talc but had taken steps to conceal the information from the public.

Through the agreement, J&J would be able to settle the lawsuits by having a subsidiary file for bankruptcy a third time. 75% of the claimants who say they were injured by J&J’s talcum products must approve the settlement in order for it to be closed. Over a period of three months, they will cast their votes.

If the consensus is reached, approximately 99% of the talc-related lawsuits filed against the company would be resolved by J&J. Multidistrict litigation is the term for a federal court proceeding in New Jersey where about 54,000 lawsuits are consolidated.

The company claimed that the lawsuits against it are “meritless litigation” even as it praised the advantages of the proposed plan.

Courts have rejected J&J’s two prior attempts to settle the litigation by having LTL Management, the subsidiary established to take on J&J’s talc liability, file for bankruptcy. 

The company said that the settlement has the support of a majority of attorneys representing plaintiffs who have filed cancer lawsuits against them.

J&J expressed confidence that the agreement will receive the necessary 75% of support to be approved as a bankruptcy settlement. This would put an end to the legal proceedings, bar future lawsuits, and prevent individuals from opting out of the agreement to pursue their own legal actions.

The proposed agreement would expand on J&J’s previous settlements with U.S. states, alleging the company failed to warn consumers about the risks associated with its talc products, and with about 95% of those who sued the company after developing mesothelioma, a rare cancer linked to asbestos exposure.

J&J said that it recorded an incremental charge of $2.7 billion in the first quarter of 2024, but it did not reveal the amount of the mesothelioma settlements. 

In their second bankruptcy filing, they put forward a $8.9 billion deal to account for the mesothelioma cancer lawsuits and state consumer protection action, in addition to the ovarian cancer claims. 

J&J declared that it would keep up its legal defense while attempting to secure approval for the settlement. According to the company, it has won 95% of ovarian cases that have been tried thus far, including all of the cases that have been tried in the last six years.

However, the legal battle has yielded significant verdicts for the plaintiffs, such as a $2.12 billion payout to 22 women who claimed that the asbestos in J&J talc was the cause of their ovarian cancer.

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