Baby powder, ovarian cancer, and $6 billion

Plus: As if Big Pharma wasn’t bad enough, now we have Big Vet.

Friday. We have Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Ag to worry about, and now, on top of all that, we have Big Vet. Pets are now considered family members, leading Americans to spend $38 billion annually on pet healthcare. So, since there is money to be made, private equity is circling the waters. Large holding companies now own thousands of veterinary clinics, focusing on revenue growth, which results in higher prices (READ MORE HERE). 

You just can’t win. 

Speaking of Big Pharma, Johnson & Johnson is settling thousands of lawsuits for a cool $6 billion. Why? Because their baby powder allegedly caused ovarian cancer. Let’s dive in.

Today’s Menu 🌿

  • 👶🏼 Talc powder (allegedly) caused cancer. J&J pays up.

  • Does exercise 🏃 help with weight loss?

  • Do you get dizzy when you stand up 😵‍💫?

  • 🚣 It is never too late to start exercising.

  • The Daily Recipe 🍓 is the perfect summer salad.

  • 💧Water filter, baby powder, and collagen recommendations you can trust.

Read Time: 4 minutes

J&J Settles For $6 Billion

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has proposed a settlement of $6.475 billion to resolve tens of thousands of lawsuits claiming that its talcum baby powder products caused ovarian cancer (READ THE FULL STORY HERE). 

This announcement follows their discontinuation of talc-based baby powder sales in North America in 2020 and globally in 2023, switching to a cornstarch-based product instead. Despite J&J's insistence on the safety of their talc products, investigative reports by Reuters and the New York Times revealed that the company had concerns about asbestos contamination for decades but did not make this information public.

Tsk Tsk. 

The resolution of these lawsuits hinges on a third bankruptcy filing by a J&J subsidiary, LTL Management, which was specifically created to handle the company’s talc liabilities. To finalize the settlement, it must be approved by 75% of the claimants within three months. If successful, this settlement will address approximately 99% of all talc-related claims against J&J, which includes about 54,000 cases consolidated in New Jersey under a federal multi-district litigation process.

J&J’s previous attempts to settle these claims through bankruptcy were unsuccessful, but the company remains optimistic about achieving the necessary approval for this latest proposal.

The Big Pharma giant argues that the litigation against them is without merit, yet they have already settled around 95% of lawsuits involving mesothelioma, a rare cancer associated with asbestos exposure. The financial impact of these settlements includes a recorded charge of $2.7 billion in the first quarter of 2024 to cover recent talc-related settlements.

This proposed deal is part of J&J’s broader strategy to manage the fallout from these lawsuits while continuing to defend the safety of their products in court. The company has successfully defended itself in 95% of the ovarian cancer trials, including all cases tried over the past six years. 

However, there have been significant verdicts against them, including a $2.12 billion award to 22 women who attributed their ovarian cancer to asbestos in J&J’s talc products. 

The key takeaway? No dollar amount can fairly compensate for a cancer diagnosis, especially if J&J knew about the contamination and decided to do nothing about it. 

As J&J works to secure the necessary votes for the settlement, they continue to face public scrutiny and legal challenges. The outcome of this settlement could significantly impact how similar cases are handled in the future, not just for J&J but for the entire industry dealing with product liability issues related to consumer health and safety.

Good—these companies SHOULD be held responsible. Let’s hope this J&J case sets a precedent for more big settlements to come.  

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