Johnson & Johnson stops selling talcum baby powder in US, Canada

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Johnson & Johnson discontinued its legacy talc-based baby-powder merchandise in the U.S. and Canada after hundreds of fits alleging asbestos contamination led to a decline in gross sales. The health-care big mentioned Tuesday it had stopped transport lots of of talc-based objects in the U.S. and Canada after coming to a “business determination” to discontinue them. J&J will wind down gross sales in these markets over the approaching months, mentioned Kathleen Widmer, chairman of the corporate’s North America shopper unit. All current stock will proceed to be bought via retailers till provides run out, she mentioned. J&J first started selling baby-powder merchandise in the 1890s, in line with an organization weblog.

J&J has confronted lawsuits accusing it of hiding the most cancers dangers tied its talc-based model of baby powder since 2014. Juries throughout the U.S. have hit the corporate with billions of {dollars} in precise and punishment damages over their dealing with of the product. J&J has been profitable in getting lots of these verdicts diminished or worn out on enchantment.

Shares of the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based firm declined 0.3% in late buying and selling to $148.55. Since the beginning of this 12 months, the shares had gained 2.2% via Tuesday’s shut.

J&J’s cornstarch-based baby powder, which has been available on the market since 1980, will proceed to be bought in the U.S. and Canada. Widmer mentioned 75% of its U.S. baby-power clients use the cornstach product, whereas 25% depend on the talc-based product. Outside the U.S. these numbers are reversed, Widmer mentioned, and the talc-based product will proceed to be distributed overseas.

Johnson’s Baby Powder at present accounts for lower than 1% of the corporate’s U.S. consumer-health income. It has seen a 60% decline in gross sales since 2017 as shopper habits have modified, Widmer mentioned. The firm blames “misinformation across the security of the product and a relentless barrage of litigation promoting” for the drop in demand, in line with a press release.

“We’re not in the enterprise of complicated clients,” Widmer mentioned.

The determination to discontinue was made throughout a portfolio evaluation associated to Covid-19 in March.

“We wanted to skinny down” to free up space in manufacturing plants to allow for appropriate social distancing, Widmer said. “We probably would have waited a couple of months otherwise. But we knew the business, which is already small in scale, would continue to decline.”

Legacy Product

Talcum powder has lengthy been a mainstay of baby merchandise as a result of the mineral retains pores and skin dry and prevents diaper rash. Talc mines, nevertheless, also can yield asbestos, a mineral as soon as used in merchandise corresponding to constructing insulation. Some firms have discovered corn starch can supply the identical advantages of talc with out the asbestos danger.

In October, J&J mentioned it will pull a single lot of 33,000 bottles off the market after a Food and Drug Administration-conducted take a look at uncovered tiny quantities of the contaminant in one bottle of baby powder. But the corporate mentioned lab exams it commissioned discovered no signal of asbestos in the recalled lot, placing it at odds with U.S. well being regulators who caught by their take a look at outcomes.

The standoff occurred as lawsuits in opposition to the corporate continued to climb. J&J officers mentioned final month they’d had a 15% improve in the variety of fits alleging baby powder causes totally different sorts of most cancers. Discontinuing its talc-based baby powder in the U.S. may restrict the variety of most cancers lawsuits the 127-year-old product generates every year.

J&J is probably going in search of an “finish date for talc claims,” said Leigh O’Dell, an Alabama-based lawyer who is overseeing more than 16,000 suits in federal court in New Jersey blaming the product for causing ovarian cancer. The move to discontinue sales “puts a fence around the litigation for them.”

Last 12 months, Bausch Health Cos., maker of Shower to Shower powder, mentioned it reformulated the product to interchange talc with corn starch because the lively ingredient. The agency hadn’t disclosed the swap till Bloomberg News requested about it. J&J beforehand owned Shower to Shower however bought it to Bausch predecessor Valeant Pharmaceuticals International.

Johnson & Johnson “stays steadfastly assured in the security of talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder,” the company said in a statement. “We will continue to vigorously defend the product, its safety, and the unfounded allegations against it and the company in the courtroom.”

This story has been printed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content. Only the headline has been modified.

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