In May 2020, Johnson & Johnson ceased sales of its talc-based baby powder in the United States and Canada, following pay-outs of billions of dollars in legal costs over claims its product causes cancer. The company had denied these allegations.
In October 2019, the company issued a voluntary recall for one lot of its baby powder. A U.S. Food and Drug Administration test revealed traces of chrysotile asbestos in the lot.
In December 2018, investigations by both Reuters and The New York Times concluded Johnson & Johnson had been aware of asbestos in its baby powder since at least 1971 through the early 2000s and failed to disclose the asbestos to regulators and the public.
In December 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a bid by Johnson & Johnson to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the state of Mississippi over allegations its talc-based products increased ovarian cancer risks.
In June 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the company’s request to overturn a $2.1 billion judgment in Missouri, a landmark verdict awarded to 22 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Johnson & Johnson created a new subsidiary, LTL Management, LLC in October 2021. Company officials said they moved $2 billion in baby powder lawsuit settlement money into the newly created subsidiary, which filed for bankruptcy protection in North Carolina the same month. LTL Management listed its liabilities between $1 billion and $10 billion.
The bankruptcy case was moved to New Jersey, the home of Johnson & Johnson. A newly assigned U.S. bankruptcy judge is expected to hold a hearing to dismiss the bankruptcy in February 2022. The motion will be filed by the talc claimants’ committee, representing people who have sued the company over ovarian cancer and mesothelioma claims.