Johnson & Johnson will discontinue the sale of talc-based baby powder products in the U.S. and Canada, the company announced on Tuesday after facing lawsuits from thousands of people who claim the talc-based baby powder caused their cancer.
The company decided to permanently discontinue the baby powder though only in the U.S. and Canadian markets because of decreased sales and misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising, according to a release.
In the release, Johnson & Johnson said it remains steadfastly confident in the safety of its talc-based product, saying that all verdicts against the company that have been through the appeals process have been overturned.
Decades of scientific studies by medical experts around the world support the safety of our product, the company said. We will continue to vigorously defend the product, its safety, and the unfounded allegations against it and the Company in the courtroom.
Johnson & Johnson said it has stopped shipping hundreds of products during the pandemic, including the talc-based baby powder, to prioritize the shipment of goods in high-demand. The company plans to wind down the commercialization of the product in the coming months and sell inventory until it runs out.
Talc-based and cornstarch-based baby powder will both continue to be sold globally, according to the release.
Almost 20,000 cancer patients have filed lawsuits against the company over the powders, The New York Times reported.
Last year, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $325 million to a woman who said her asbestos-related cancer was caused by the talc-based baby powder, in punitive and compensatory damages.
In October, Johnson & Johnson recalled 33,000 bottles of baby powder after the Food and Drug Administration found trace amounts of asbestos in a bottle. The recall led to Walmart, CVS and Rite Aid to remove the product from their shelves about a week later.