Johnson & Johnson Finally Stops Selling Problematic Baby Powder That Targeted Minority Women

By CultureBanx Team

  • Johnson & Johnson will finally stop selling talc-based baby powder globally in 2023
  • To sell more baby powder J&J specifically targeted Black women in   “under-developed geographical areas

Drugmaker giant Johnson & Johnson (JNJ +0.29%) will finally stop selling talc-based baby powder globally in 2023. Right now the company is facing more than 38,000 cases that allege J&J talc products caused cancer, after agreeing to a $100 million settlement back in 2021. The bankruptcy setup claim is even more concerning for Black women, who 15 years ago, were selected by J&J as “the right place” to sell more baby powder to, specifically targeting  “under-developed geographical areas.”

Why This Matters: This move comes more than two years after it ended U.S. sales of a product that drew thousands of consumer safety lawsuits. Earlier this year J&J set aside $3.9 billion in a ‘trust fund’ for litigation expenses to cover payouts for trust lost from 25,000 consumers who purchased its Baby Powder.

Racial and ethic disparities in U.S. healthcare are rife, with Black women facing higher risks to their health from discrimination. In 2006, the company began distributing baby powder through a specially curated network of churches and beauty salons targeting Black & Hispanic communities. 

Moreover, J&J launched a $300,000 radio advertising campaign in six markets with the prime goal of reaching “curvy Southern women 18-49 skewing African American.” To add insult to injury,  an independent investigation discovered that the company knew for decades that asbestos was mixed in with the talcum. 

What’s Next: J&J denies the allegations, saying decades of scientific testing and regulatory approvals have shown its talc to be safe and asbestos-free. Going forward the company has made “the commercial decision to transition to an all cornstarch-based baby powder portfolio globally.”

CBx Vibe:Litigation” K. Rez


CultureBanx Team

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