Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) on Tuesday announced it is discontinuing its talc-based baby powder line in the United States and Canada.
The New Jersey-based company said the decision came as part of its portfolio assessment related to novel coronavirus (COVID-19), with another 99 products also being permanently discontinued.It noted that the demand for its talc-based baby powder reduced in the face of thousands of lawsuits claiming the product can cause cancer."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 said in a statement.According to the company, the talc-based powder contributed to about 0.5% of its total U.S. Consumer Health business.It said its cornstarch-based baby powder would continue to be available in the two countries, and the existing inventory of the talc-based powder will also be cleared.
The talc-based powder will remain available in other countries beside the U.S. and Canada, where demand for the product remains high, the statement read.Johnson & Johnson recalled a batch of the baby powder in October last year after the Food and Drug Administration found traces of Asbestos, a known carcinogen, in samples from a bottle sold through an online retailer.Later in December, the company said third-party scientific tests found no trace of Asbestos in the baby powder.Johnson & Johnson noted it would continue to "vigorously defend" the product in court, even if it has pulled it from North American markets.
The company's shares closed 1% lower at $149.02 on Tuesday. The shares traded another 0.3% lower at $148.51.