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Johnson & Johnson bids to end talcum powder cancer litigation with $8.9bn settlement offer

BMJ 2023 ; 381 doi: (Published 06 April 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;381:p807
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

Johnson & Johnson has raised its offer to litigants who say that its talcum based Baby Powder caused ovarian cancers or mesothelioma, days after a court decision struck down its previous approach.

The $8.9bn offer, to be paid out over 25 years, is aimed at resolving all North American talcum powder claims against the company, including about 38 000 already filed and any new cases that arise in future.

The company abandoned its previous offer of $2bn after a US Court of Appeals last week upheld a lower court’s rejection of Johnson & Johnson’s proposal to pay its settlement through a specially created subsidiary that would take on the parent firm’s liability, then declare bankruptcy.

This approach, a novel legal technique that is based on Texas bankruptcy law, has been labelled the “Texas two step” and is aimed at shielding …

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