Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson will cease sale of its talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in the US and Canada.
The firm is facing 20,000 lawsuits claiming that that the powder causes cancer.
On Tuesday, however, the company denied the allegations noting that their decision to pull out of the two markets was solely dependent on a drop in sales for the last 3 years.
According to Financial Times, sales have sunk by 60 percent.
“Demand for talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in North America has been declining 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,” J&J said in a statement.
Denying that their products contain small amounts of asbestos, J&J said, “Decades of scientific studies by medical experts around the world support the safety of our product. 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 have been through the appeals process have been overturned.”
The company also stated that pulling out of the markets was also informed by the need to create products that are essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The decision to pull the product was originally part of a broader strategy to shift to producing more high-demand items during the coronavirus pandemic, but has now been made permanent,” the company added.
In 2018, a St. Louis jury ordered the company to pay 22 women $4.7 billion after the powder contributed to their ovarian cancer.
Again, in 2019 a woman won a $29 million lawsuit after she claimed that the powder caused her to develop mesothelioma.
In the meantime, retailers in both countries will continue selling what remains on their shelves, J&J announced.
Sadly, poor countries in Africa and other countries around the world “where there there is significantly higher consumer demand for the product” will still receive these products.