The talcum powder lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson have been going on for years. The lawsuits allege that prolonged use of talcum powder (or “talc”), which is the active ingredient in products such as Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, can cause ovarian cancer in some women. Since the first studies linking talcum powder to cancer were made public, thousands of product liability lawsuits have been filed against J&J. The talcum powder lawsuits in federal courts have been consolidated into a class action MDL.
The latest big news is the announcement that J&J was paying $100 million to settle a large group of over 1,000 talcum powder cases in the MDL. This announcement marked a dramatic shift in J&J’s position on talcum powder claims. J&J had steadfastly refused to admit that there was anything wrong with talcum powder and the company had aggressively defended all claims.
So what prompted this change of heart? One of the primary motivating factors for J&J was a $2 billion dollar verdict awarded over the summer to 22 women in a Missouri talcum powder lawsuit. That is the kind of thing that wakes up a Fortune 500 giant like Johnson & Johnson.