The world's largest maker of health care products will have to pay more than $140 million to settle lawsuits over claims its baby powder caused cancer, according to a report.
Johnson & Johnson has agreed to the whopping payout to resolve more than 1000 lawsuits after four years of litigation, reports Bloomberg.
In 2017, the company was ordered to pay $148m to a woman who said she developed ovarian cancer after 40 years of using its talc-based products for feminine hygiene.
The company allegedly ignored studies that linked its baby powder and Shower to Shower Powder product to ovarian cancer.
In 2016, a jury awarded another woman $94m in damages for her suit against Johnson & Johnson after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012 following years of using baby powder.
That same year a family was awarded $97m in damages after a jury found a woman's use of talcum powder contributed to her widespread cancer.
Last year, the company recalled 33,000 bottles of baby powder after US health regulators found trace levels of asbestos.
Johnson & Johnson denied a report it knew for decades about the existence of trace amounts of asbestos in its baby powder.
Earlier this year, the company announced it would stop selling its talc-based baby powder in the US and Canada, saying it was part of a broad reassessment of its consumer product portfolio prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Johnson & Johnson has consistently defended the safety of its talc products and said it remained confident in their safety but has replaced the talc product with a cornstarch version in the US and Canada.
Bloomberg reports some 20,000 lawsuits are still pending.
"In certain circumstances, we do choose to settle lawsuits, which is done without an admission of liability and in no way changes our position regarding the safety of our products," Johnson & Johnson spokesperson Kim Montagnino told Bloomberg.
She said "scientific evidence" supported that position.
"Our talc is safe, does not contain asbestos and does not cause cancer," she said.
A trial over a factory worker's claims cancer is tied to talc is scheduled to start this month in California.
Rosalino Reyes III says he used the company's baby powder for about 50 years and was diagnosed with asbestos-linked cancer last year.
He claims he contracted cancerous mesothelioma caused by inhaling asbestos from Johnson & Johnson products.
Mesothelioma is tumour of the tissue that lines the lungs, stomach, heart and other organs. It is caused by inhaled asbestos fibres.
Bloomberg Intelligence estimates that settling all the outstanding cases could cost Johnson & Johnson as much as $10 billion.