Pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johson has announced it will stop the sales of their baby powder in the US and Canada.
This comes after years of lawsuits relating to claims that the baby powder causes cancer.
One of these lawsuits was a case which resulted in Johnson & Johnson being ordered to pay almost $4.7 billion to 22 women who sued the company after alleging that the baby powder caused their ovarian cancer.
In July 2018, a jury in St. Louis ruled they were right. More recently a July 2019 report by Bloomberg detailed how the Justice Department and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating Johnson & Johnson due to concerns about alleged asbestos contamination in its baby powder.
Johnson & Johnson has now released statement saying: “Johnson & Johnson remains steadfastly confident in the safety of talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder. Decades of scientific studies by medical experts around the world support the safety of our product. We will continue to vigorously defend the product, its safety, and the unfounded allegations against it and the Company in the courtroom. All verdicts against the Company that have been through the appeals process have been overturned.”
For many years now Johnson &Johnson’s baby powder has been at the centre of many controversies. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has been being against its use since 1981 due to the inhalation danger it poses to babies which can cause a pneumonic reaction. In 1998 Dr Hugh MacDonald, a member of the AAP, who was at the time the director of neonatology at Santa Monica Hospital told the Los Angeles Times that, “Most pediatricians recommend that it not be used,” adding that the consensus at the time was that “anybody using talcum powder be aware that it could cause inhalation of the talc, resulting in a pneumonic reaction.”
In their statement about the discontinuation in the two markets, Johnson & Johnson says: “Both types of Johnson’s Baby Powder – talc-based and cornstarch-based – will continue to be sold in other markets around the world where there is significantly higher consumer demand for the product. Importantly, Johnson & Johnson remains fully committed to its Johnson’s Baby brand.”