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J&J to retain all talc-related liabilities from litigation in US, Canada

Published 04/27/2023, 01:20 AM
Updated 04/27/2023, 01:10 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Johnson & Johnson company offices are shown in Irvine, California, U.S., October 14, 2020.  REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo/File Photo
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(Reuters) -Johnson & Johnson said on Thursday it has agreed to retain all talc-related liabilities arising from litigation in the United States and Canada and will "indemnify" newly formed consumer health unit Kenvue for all costs.

The statement comes after the Financial Times reported earlier in the day that Kenvue had been named in claims that its talcum powder can cause cancer.

Kenvue had been named in at least seven talc lawsuits filed since the start of April, according to the newspaper, which cited regulatory filings and people familiar with the matter.

"As unequivocally and unambiguously stated, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) has agreed to retain all the talc-related liabilities -and indemnify Kenvue for any and all costs - arising from litigation in the United States and Canada. Any suggestion to the contrary is false and misleading," Erik Haas, vice president of litigation, Johnson & Johnson, said in a statement.

The news comes as Johnson & Johnson (J&J) seeks a valuation of up to $42.95 billion for Kenvue in its initial public offering.

Earlier this month, J&J agreed to pay $8.9 billion to settle tens of thousands of lawsuits alleging that talc in its iconic Baby Powder and other products caused cancer, dwarfing the company's original offer of $2 billion.

J&J has claimed that its talc products are safe and do not cause cancer.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Johnson & Johnson company offices are shown in Irvine, California, U.S., October 14, 2020.  REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo/File Photo

One of the new cases naming Kenvue was filed on behalf of Justin and Kathryn Bergeron, a husband and wife who live in Louisiana, FT said. Their lawsuit claims Justin Bergeron contracted mesothelioma, a cancer associated with asbestos exposure, as a result of using J&J talc, FT reported.

Lawyers working for talc claimants said it could be the first of many claims filed against Kenvue and other J&J divisions not previously named in lawsuits, the paper added.

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