Healthcare and consumer goods giant Johnson & Johnson has announced a proposal to offer a settlement of at least $8.9 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits filed against the company alleging that its products containing talc caused cancer. The offer is four times the previous amount offered to settle the lawsuits. The company has stated that the proposed settlement, payable over 25 years, is $6.9 billion more than its previous offer in connection with a 2021 bankruptcy filing by its LTL Management unit.
According to recent claims, women have filed a series of lawsuits alleging that Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder gave them ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, a cancer that strikes the lungs and other organs. More than 60,000 parties who have sued J&J are backing the proposed settlement.
In a statement released to the press, a group of plaintiffs’ law firms said that the newly announced settlement marks a significant victory for the tens of thousands of women suffering from gynecological cancers caused by J&J’s talc-based products. Under the terms of the agreement, all talc claimants will be able to have their claims evaluated and assessed within one year of plan confirmation, ensuring a swift and efficient resolution for victims of the company’s misconduct.
However, J&J continues to deny that its talcum powder poses health risks, stating that the settlement offer does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing. “The company continues to believe that these claims are specious and lack scientific merit,” said Erik Haas, worldwide vice president of litigation at Johnson & Johnson, in a statement. “However, as the bankruptcy court recognized, resolving these cases in the tort system would take decades and impose significant costs on LTL and the system, with most claimants never receiving any compensation.”
The proposed settlement must now be approved by a bankruptcy judge. Lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson have contributed to declining sales for its talcum-based baby powder, and the company last year said it would stop selling the product worldwide.
Despite the proposed settlement, the company’s stock rose by 3% in after-hours trading on the day of the announcement, indicating a positive market response. This recent development has provided businesses and insights into the legal challenges that companies may face if their products pose health risks. It also highlights the importance of companies being transparent with their customers about any potential risks associated with their products.