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Arkansas will receive more than $12.7M in Johnson & Johnson deceptive marketing settlement

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Arkansas will receive more than $12.7M in Johnson & Johnson deceptive marketing settlement

Jun 11, 2024 | 4:47 pm ET
By Tess Vrbin
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Arkansas will receive more than $12.7M in Johnson & Johnson deceptive marketing settlement
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Arkansas will receive more than $12.7 million of a $700 million nationwide settlement with Johnson & Johnson over the company’s alleged deceptive marketing of baby powder and other products that contained traces of asbestos, Attorney General Tim Griffin announced in a Tuesday news release.

The company “deceptively promoted and misled consumers about the safety and purity of its talc-based powder products that had been sold by the company for over a hundred years,” the release states.

The attorneys general from Texas, Florida and North Carolina led the 42-state lawsuit. Johnson & Johnson agreed in the settlement to permanently stop “the manufacturing, marketing, promotion, sale, and distribution of all baby and body powder products and cosmetic powder products that contain talcum powder” by the company or by the third party, according to the news release.

In Arkansas, the law under which Johnson & Johnson was found liable is the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, which leads to fines of up to $10,000 per violation.

Griffin’s complaint in the lawsuit claims the company’s advertising encouraged women and girls to use talc-based powder products “to mask and avoid” various body odors, including “in more places than just under your arms.” This advertising intentionally encouraged the use of such products on female genitalia, and Johnson & Johnson has been aware since the 1980s of studies proving women who use talcum powder on their genitals are at an increased risk of ovarian cancer, the complaint states.

The case was not Johnson & Johnson’s first deceptive marketing lawsuit. The company faced a $344 million judgment in 2020 after California sued over its marketing of pelvic mesh devices, which are surgical implants meant to address women’s pelvic health issues. In 2023, Johnson & Johnson lost its appeal of the judgment.