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Published on June 12, 2024
Johnson & Johnson Reaches $700M Settlement with 43 States Over Misleading Talc Powder ClaimsSource: Google Street View

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, together with a coalition of 42 other attorneys general, has reached a $700 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson over misleading safety claims concerning their talc-based baby and body powder products. The multistate lawsuit alleged deceptive marketing practices by the healthcare giant, suggesting that the powders were safe and pure despite concerns over health risks. According to a press release from the Texas Attorney General's office, the settlement necessitates Johnson & Johnson to permanently stop not only the manufacturing and sale but also to effectively ensure not to resume distributing these products in the United States.

For over a century, Johnson & Johnson's talc powder products, such as the iconic Johnson's Baby Powder and Shower to Shower body powder, have been household staples. Only after states initiated investigations into marketing practices did the company cease distribution and selling within the U.S., and later, they announced an end to global sales. "We have reached a landmark settlement with Johnson & Johnson ensuring that the company will abide by the law and take effective steps to protect consumers from potentially hazardous ingredients," Texas AG Paxton said in a statement. Other states at the helm of the legal push included Florida and North Carolina, with a wide array of states joining the action.

As further outlined in the consent judgment, Johnson & Johnson will be obligated to halt all manufacture, promotion, and sales of their talc-containing powder products in the U.S. This comes in the wake of numerous class-action lawsuits, separate from this settlement, wherein plaintiffs alleged serious health complications, including mesothemia and ovarian cancer, stemming from the use of talc products. This settlement addresses only the deceptive marketing claims and is still awaiting judicial approval.

The settlement proceeds will be distributed among the states, with Texas set to receive over $61 million as its share. The overall agreement represents a concerted effort by the states to confront practices that may have compromised consumer safety. "I’m proud to lead this coalition of 43 attorneys general to stand up for consumers’ health and truth in marketing," Paxton stated, highlighting the collaborative nature of this resolution. The settlement marks a decisive ending to a contentious chapter between Johnson & Johnson and consumers who trusted in the integrity of their daily-use products.