By Jen Christensen, CNN, 20 May 2020
Containers of Johnson’s baby powder made by Johnson and Johnson are displayed on a shelf on July 13, 2018 in San Francisco, California. A Missouri jury has ordered pharmaceutical company Johnson and Johnson to pay $4.69 billion in damages to 22 women who claim that they got ovarian cancer from Johnson’s baby powder.
Johnson & Johnson is abandoning a product that it may be most identified with and has been selling for more than 100 years — talc-based baby powder.
The company said on its website Tuesday that it had re-evaluated its products in light of the novel coronavirus in March and stopped shipping hundreds of items in the US and Canada. The purpose was to place a priority on its high-demand products and to make room for social distancing at its manufacturing and distribution facilities.
The company said it was permanently discontinuing about 100 products, including Johnson’s Baby Powder. This will only impact sales in the US and Canada. It will continue to sell its products in other markets. The company says there has been a decline in demand for the powder.
The company does have a cornstarch-based baby powder that will remain on the market.
Johnson & Johnson said it remains confident in the safety of the product, but there have been tens of thousands of lawsuits filed by women who have developed ovarian cancer after regular talcum powder use.
The cases are in various stages in courtrooms around the country. A handful of talcum powder companies have put warning labels on their products, but Johnson & Johnson argued such a label would be confusing, because it stood by its product.