Johnson & Johnson to pay $2.1b fine in baby powder cancer case

The U.S. Supreme Court overruled an appeal filed by pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson seeking to undo $2.1 billion in damages.

Johnson & Johnson was fined for using asbestos in its talc powder products, including baby powder, which caused women to develop ovarian cancer.

The appeal that was denied on Tuesday related to a case filed in 2018 involving 22 women in which a jury approved $ 4.7 billion in damages following a class action lawsuit (a joint case by several people), which was later reduced to $2.1 following an appeal.

After the decision, shares of the pharmaceutical company fell 1.8 per cent.

Johnson & Johnson was punished for deliberately using asbestos in their products that can cause cancer.

The company also faces thousands of similar cases across the United States, claiming to have failed to alert its customers to the dangers of the ingredient in talcum powder.

Last year, the company announced that it was shutting down talcum powder in the United States and Canada after sales plunged by 60 per cent in three years.

 Part of the reason was the "flood of lawsuits" against it.

However, the company said it would continue to sell the product in other countries.

Talcum powder is made from the mineral talc, which, in its natural form, contains asbestos, a substance that can cause cancer. The healthcare industry agreed in 1976 to ensure that all talc products do not contain detectable levels of asbestos. 

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