Photo Illustration: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson will stop selling its talcum baby powder in the U.S. and Canada as it faces nearly 20,000 lawsuits that allege the product can cause cancer, the company announced Tuesday.

The big picture: Sales of the powder have dropped 60% in the last three years, per the Financial Times. In 2018, the company was forced to pay $4.7 billion in damages to 22 women who alleged they got cancer from using the product.

  • The decision to pull the product was originally part of a broader strategy to shift to producing more high-demand items during the coronavirus pandemic, but has now been made permanent, according to the company statement.
  • Johnson & Johnson continues to deny the allegations.

What they're saying:

"Demand for talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in North America has been declining due in large part to changes in consumer habits and fueled by misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising."
"Johnson & Johnson remains steadfastly confident in the safety of talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder. Decades of scientific studies by medical experts around the world support the safety of our product. We will continue to vigorously defend the product, its safety, and the unfounded allegations against it and the Company in the courtroom. All verdicts against the Company that have been through the appeals process have been overturned."
— Johnson & Johnson statement

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