Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Johnson & Johnson offers $8.9 billion to settle lawsuit over cancer-causing ingredients


US pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday awarded an $8.9 billion settlement that ends all lawsuits in North America over the sale of talcum powder accused of causing cancer.

According to a statement issued by the group, the agreement – which has not yet been approved by the court – will “fairly and efficiently resolve all complaints” alleging that talcum powder contains asbestos and causes ovarian cancer.

Johnson & Johnson says the deal is not an admission of guilt, and continues to maintain that its talc-containing products are “safe” despite the recall from the North American market.

The deal, announced on Tuesday, will extend payments by the group’s subsidiary over 25 years and “terminate all current and future complaints about Talc,” according to a Johnson & Johnson statement.

The company also noted that more than 60,000 plaintiffs have agreed to such a settlement of a legal dispute.

“The company continues to believe that these complaints are unfounded and without scientific merit,” a Johnson & Johnson legal official said in a statement. However, the agreement allows for “compensation to the plaintiffs within a reasonable period of time”.

In June 2021, after years of litigation, a court ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $2.1 billion in damages.

An appeals court in the US state of Missouri ruled that the group had “intentionally sold products containing asbestos to consumers” that caused “significant physical and psychological suffering”.

As Johnson & Johnson continues to plead its innocence, it announced in May 2020 that it would stop selling the talc-containing powder in the US and Canada, two countries where sales have fallen due to changing habits and consumer distrust of the product.

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Talcum powder and cancer

Talcum powder, in its natural form, contains asbestos, also known as “asbestos”, a known carcinogen that has prompted companies to withdraw products from the US market since the seventies of the last century.

Doctors warn against long-term exposure to talc because it can cause lung cancer among miners, according to the American Cancer Society’s website.

The association said results of studies on the effects of talc on workers exposed to asbestos-containing dust were mixed, but found no evidence of an increased risk of lung cancer in asbestos-free talc products.

Harvard epidemiology professor Daniel Kramer first conducted earlier studies of a possible link between talc exposure and ovarian cancer in 1982, and published several studies, his work indicating that talc exposure increases the risk of ovarian cancer. Total percentage. It is 30%.

On the other hand, experts say, these types of studies on talcum powder do not provide conclusive results and are tainted by loss of bias because women generally do not provide accurate answers about the amount and duration of talcum powder they used. To use, does not specify the difference in the results of the studies that examined the subject.

Based on studies like these, the International Agency for Cancer Research – affiliated with the World Health Organization – classified the use of body powders containing talc on the genitals as “probably carcinogenic to humans”, including some commonly used products. , such as coffee and olive oil.

To address the issue of whether talc causes tumors, Kramer said, it would require a clinical trial involving randomized participants, which is the gold standard for scientific research evidence, but this is impractical due to ethical concerns, as it would require intentionally exposing women. A product that can cause them cancer and then wait to monitor the result.

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Nadia Barnett
Nadia Barnett
"Award-winning beer geek. Extreme coffeeaholic. Introvert. Avid travel specialist. Hipster-friendly communicator."

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