Johnson & Johnson JNJ said Tuesday it is discontinuing its iconic talc-based baby powder in the U.S. and Canada amid a larger review of products prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The company, which faces thousands of lawsuits claiming the powder caused cancer in women who used it, said demand has been falling “due in large part to changes in consumer habits and fueled by misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising,” according to a statement.
Johnson & Johnson “remains steadfastly confident in the safety of talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder,” according to the statement. “We will continue to vigorously defend the product, its safety, and the unfounded allegations against it and the Company in the courtroom. All verdicts against the Company that has been through the appeals process have been overturned,” the company said.
The company said its existing inventory will be sold through retailers until it runs out. In addition, cornstarch-based Johnson’s Baby Powder will remain available in North America.
Johnson’s Baby Powder “represents approximately 0.5% of the total U.S. Consumer Health business,” according to the statement.
Both types of Johnson’s Baby Powder -- talc-based and cornstarch-based -- will continue to be sold in other markets around the world where there is significantly higher consumer demand for the product. Johnson & Johnson said it remains fully committed to its wider Johnson’s Baby brand.
Shares of Johnson & Johnson fell 47 cents, or 0.32%, to $148.55 in after-hours trading. The stock lost 1% in the regular session.
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