Johnson & Johnson and Spinoff Kenvue Ordered to Pay US$45 Million in Talc Cancer Case
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Johnson & Johnson and Spinoff Kenvue Ordered to Pay US$45 Million in Talc Cancer Case

THE WHAT?   In a landmark ruling, Johnson & Johnson and its spinoff, Kenvue Inc., have been ordered to pay US$45 million to the family of Theresa Garcia, an Illinois woman who attributed her fatal cancer to the companies’ talcum-based baby powders. This verdict, delivered by a Chicago jury, marks the first against Kenvue and a significant development in the decade-long litigation surrounding J&J’s baby powder products.

THE DETAILS   The jury assigned 70% of the responsibility for Garcia’s death to Kenvue, with the remainder attributed to J&J and its other units. Garcia, a mother of six and grandmother, died in 2020 from mesothelioma, a cancer typically linked to asbestos exposure. Her family alleged that J&J and Kenvue’s predecessor knowingly sold baby powder contaminated with asbestos. This verdict follows a series of legal challenges for J&J, including a dismissed bankruptcy filing by one of its units intended to settle talc cases. Just a day before this verdict, a Florida jury had dismissed similar allegations against J&J.

THE WHY? J&J has consistently denied that its talc products cause cancer, maintaining that it has responsibly marketed its baby powder for over a century. In response to declining sales and ongoing litigation, J&J announced it would phase out talc-based products globally by December 2023, transitioning to cornstarch-based formulations. Kenvue, which now oversees the production of J&J’s consumer goods like Tylenol and Listerine, has confirmed it no longer produces or sells talc-based baby powder.

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