Johnson & Johnson willing to pay $9bn to settle talc claims: Report

US pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has proposed to pay almost $9 billion to resolve tens of thousands of lawsuits the company faces in North America over claims that its baby powder and other talc-based products cause cancer, the media reported. The healthcare giant said it still believed the claims were “specious” but was hoping the new settlement offer would help conclude its legal battle, the BBC reported. The figure marks a big boost over the $2 billion it had proposed previously. The new offer has significant support from people tied to the case, it said. The company is facing more than 40,000 lawsuits from former customers who say using its talc-based baby powder caused cancer, including some who allege the product contained cancer-causing asbestos. It stopped US sales of its talc-based baby powder in 2020, citing “misinformation” that had sapped demand for the product, applied to prevent nappy rash and for other cosmetic uses, including dry shampoo. Last year, it announced plans to end sales globally. Before that decision, the company had sold the baby powder for almost 130 years. It continues to sell a version of the product that contains cornstarch. The company has been trying to resolve the lawsuits in bankruptcy court since 2021, after creating a subsidiary responsible for the claims. But its efforts ran into trouble after an earlier bankruptcy court ruling found the subsidiary was not in financial distress and could not use the bankruptcy system to resolve the lawsuits.