Johnson & Johnson has offered $9 billion to settle talc claims.
Johnson & Johnson has proposed paying nearly $9 billion to settle tens of thousands of lawsuits in North America alleging that its baby powder and other talc-based products cause cancer.
The healthcare giant said it still thought the claims were “speculative,” but that the new settlement offer would help it end its legal battle.
The figure is a significant increase over the previous proposal of $2 billion.
According to the report, the new offer has received significant support from people involved in the case.
More than 40,000 lawsuits have been filed against the company by former customers who claim using its baby powder caused cancer, including some who claim the product contained cancer-causing asbestos.
It discontinued sales of its talc-based baby powder in the United States in 2020, citing “misinformation” that had slashed demand for the product, which was used to prevent nappy rash and for other cosmetic purposes such as dry shampoo. Last year, it announced that it would cease global sales.
Prior to that decision, the company had been selling baby powder for nearly 130 years.
Since 2021, the company has been attempting to settle the lawsuits in bankruptcy court after establishing a subsidiary to handle the claims.
However, its efforts were thwarted when an earlier bankruptcy court ruling determined that the subsidiary was not in financial distress and thus could not use the bankruptcy system to settle the lawsuits.
“The company continues to believe that these claims are speculative and lack scientific merit,” said Erik Haas, Johnson & Johnson’s global vice president of litigation.
However, he stated that “resolving these cases in the tort system would take decades and impose significant costs on LTL and the system, with the vast majority of claimants never receiving any compensation.”