Following a portfolio assessment related to COVID-19 in March, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health has decided to permanently discontinue approximately 100 SKUs, including talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder. The discontinuation is only effective in the U.S. and Canada.
According to the company, Johnson’s Baby Powder represents approximately 0.5% of the total U.S. Consumer Health business. Demand for talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in North America has been declining due to changes in consumer habits and fueled by lawsuits filed by patients who say it caused cancer.
Despite the thousands of lawsuits the company has faced—mostly from women with ovarian cancer—Johnson & Johnson remains steadfastly confident in the safety of talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder.
“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,” read a statement from Johnson & Johnson.
The company will wind down the commercialization of talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in North America in the coming months. Existing inventory will continue to be sold through retailers until it runs out. Cornstarch-based Johnson’s Baby Powder will remain available in North America.
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.
Last year, the FDA issued this statement urging cosmetic companies to do more, which was drafted after talc-containing makeup products by Claire's and Justice stores were found to contain asbestos.