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Johnson & Johnson proposes $8.9 bn settlement of talc cancer claims

US pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday proposed an $8.9 billion settlement to resolve years-old lawsuits claiming that its talcum powder products caused cancer.

The New Jersey-based company said the proposed settlement, which needs the approval of a bankruptcy court, “will equitably and efficiently resolve all claims arising from cosmetic talc litigation.”

J&J has been facing thousands of lawsuits over talcum powder containing traces of asbestos blamed for causing ovarian cancer.

The firm has never admitted wrongdoing but stopped selling the talc-based baby powder in the United States and Canada in May 2020.

“The company continues to believe that these claims are specious and lack scientific merit,” Erik Haas, J&J’s vice president of litigation, said in a statement.

J&J said the $8.9 billion would be paid to the tens of thousands of claimants over 25 years through a J&J subsidiary, LTL Management LLC, which was set up to address the claims and has filed for bankruptcy protection.

J&J had previously proposed a settlement of $2 billion in response to the claims that its cosmetic talc caused gynecological cancers.

J&J said the proposed settlement is not “an admission of wrongdoing, nor an indication that the company has changed its longstanding position that its talcum powder products are safe.”

“Nonetheless, resolving this matter as quickly and efficiently as possible is in the best interests of the company and all stakeholders,” it said.