Johnson & Johnson will stop selling its popular baby-powder products globally in 2023, the company told Bloomberg on Thursday.
The move comes amid a plethora of legal battles, which had forced the American multinational to discontinue the sale of its legendary product in the USA and Canada. These legal battles have alleged that its baby powder has been linked to cancer risk, something that the company has actively tried to hide. Johnson & Johnson stands by its product and calls it safe. The decision to stop the sale of baby powder is said to be driven by “commercial reasons” and not lawsuits.
“We continuously evaluate and optimize our portfolio to best position the business for long-term growth,” Melissa Witt, spokesperson of J&J said in an emailed statement. “Today’s decision is part of a worldwide portfolio assessment, which evaluated several factors, including differences in demand for our products across geographic regions and evolving consumer trends and preferences,” she added.
The American multinational firm, headquartered in New Jersey, was founded in 1886 by James Wood Johnson and Edward Mead Johnson. In over a century of operations, it has been known for developing medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and consumer packaged goods. The baby talcum powder and its diapers have long been its most-selling powder, cementing its identity in the minds of millions of consumers across the globe.
For decades, talcum powder has been used in baby products primarily because of its ability to keep the skin dry and prevent rashes. However, the legal suits against Johnson & Johnson say that the baby powder is contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen commonly found in places where talc is mined
As per the decision by the company, it would change all its baby powder products to use cornstarch instead of talcum powder. As of now, it faces over forty-thousand lawsuits in the US over the claims.
The company had also sought bankruptcy after dwindling sales after the allegations came to light. To reduce liability, there are speculations that the company is trying to break off its consumer health business into a standalone company next year.