Johnson & Johnson Reaches $700 Million Settlement Over Use of Cancer-Causing Talc Powders

By: Alec Donaldson | Published: Feb 03, 2024

American pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson reveals they’ve agreed to pay a massive settlement after allegations of misleading consumers have been brought against them by numerous American states.

Thousands of lawsuits from across the U.S. claim their talc products caused cancer. Now, it appears the company is willing to pay out over $700 million to settle the cases. 

Johnsons & Johnsons Reach Settlement

On Tuesday, the New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson reached a settlement in a case brought against them by 42 American states.

A Johnson & Johnson logo is displayed at company offices in Irvine, California.

Source: Mario Tama/Getty Images

A spokesperson for the company released a statement confirming the agreement. 

American Citizens File Lawsuits

Over the last decade, thousands of lawsuits have also been brought against J&J by citizens who claim their talc products cause severe illnesses.

A lawyer sits down at his wooden desk and looks over papers from a recent case

Source: Freepik

According to those affected, J&J’s talc powders led to a cancer diagnosis. Many of the cases are set to go to trial this year. 

Forced to Discontinue Baby Talc

Over the past ten years, J&J has been at the center of the media’s attention, with many claiming the company blatantly disregarded concern for consumers’ health.

Photo illustration of Johnson & Johnson talc-based baby powder

Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

While the company continues to contend its products are safe to use, in 2020, it discontinued the sale of its talc-based baby powder in North America. 

American States Go after J&J

With the reports of potential health risks associated with talc-based products, it wasn’t long before American states began their own investigations. 

A group of lawyers pictured having a meeting at a white desk

Source: Freepik

In October, J&J revealed that 42 U.S. states and Washington D.C. were working on a joint investigation of the misleading marketing campaigns used by the pharmaceutical company.

J&J Agree to $700 Million Settlement

J&J initially set aside $400 million last year in hopes that it would be enough to settle the claims brought forth by the U.S. states. 

CFO of J&J, Joseph Wolk, pictured during a recent talk

Source: @JohnBould1/X

However, this week, Joseph Wolk, CFO of Johnson & Johnson, announced that the company will pay out over $700 million to settle the investigations.


Spokesperson for J&J Speaks Out

Erik Haas, vice president of litigation for J&J, spoke about the settlement during a recent interview without confirming the actual amount. 

A group of reporters gather around a spokesperson as they make a statement

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“Consistent with the plan we outlined last year, the company continues to pursue several paths to achieve a comprehensive and final resolution of the talc litigation,” he said


Erik Haas Confirms J&J Leak Is True

Speaking in reference to the settlement fee, Haas states that the previously released leak was accurate. 

Collection of J&J products on a supermarket shelf

Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

“As was leaked last week, that progress includes an agreement in principle that the Company reached with a consortium of 43 State Attorneys Generals to resolve their talc claims,” he said.


J&J Tried to Offload the Blame

Bloomberg reported on the settlement earlier in the month, claiming that J&J tried to offload the blame onto its subsidiary, LTL Management.

A man dressed in a dark suit holds his head in his hands as he sits at his work desk

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According to reports, J&J tried to move the liabilities to the unit and have it file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. 


Judges Refuse Bankruptcy Request

In July, J&J had their second bankruptcy request denied.

A judge sits at his wooden desk and writes notes into a large notepad

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A New Jersey-based judge argued that the subsidiary, LTL Management, couldn’t show evidence to suggest they were in financial distress.


J&J Set to Pay Out $8.9 Billion

According to reports, LTL Management was denied an earlier request for bankruptcy by the U.S. appeals court back in April.

A man and woman shake hands as they sit at a wooden desk discussing finances

Source: Freepik

As J&J has failed to file for bankruptcy twice in less than a year, the company has now proposed to pay out an astonishing $8.9 billion to customers in response to the talc claims.  


Third Attempt at Bankruptcy

Last year, J&J confirmed they would attempt to file for bankruptcy for a third time.

A lawyer in a light blue jacket writes down notes at her desk

Source: Freepik

Hass also confirmed that J&J would ask the Supreme Court to assist them in overturning the previous decision that prohibited LTL Management from entering bankruptcy.