Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has reached a tentative settlement of $700 million to resolve an investigation by over 40 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., into claims that the company misled consumers about the safety of its talc-based products. This settlement does not include the resolution of the numerous consumer lawsuits alleging that J&J's talc-based products, including its now-discontinued talc baby powder, caused cancer.
J&J, which insists that its talc-based products are safe, has been facing financial and public relations challenges due to these allegations for decades. The company had previously earmarked about $400 million to resolve U.S. state consumer protection claims. However, a J&J spokesperson did not confirm the reported settlement amount.
The company has attempted to resolve the consumer talc cases by transferring liabilities to its subsidiary, LTL Management, and filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. However, these attempts were rejected by courts due to LTL Management not being in sufficient financial distress. J&J proposed a $8.9 billion payment to talc claimants as part of the bankruptcy process and is considering a third bankruptcy attempt while seeking to overturn lower court rulings denying bankruptcy protection to LTL Management.
J&J discontinued the sale of its talc-based baby powder globally last year.