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Johnson & Johnson settles with Kentucky over talc baby powder lawsuit

The Indiana Supreme Court is considering a sentence appeal for a man convicted in 2020 of killing and mutilating his ex-girlfriend at her Jeffersonville home.
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Johnson & Johnson agreed to a $700 million settlement over its use of talc in baby powder.

Over the next four years, Kentucky will receive a total of $9.3 million dollars as part of a settlement with Johnson & Johnson. Kentucky, alongside 41 other states and the District of Columbia, are getting the money as part of a $700 million settlement with the pharmaceutical and medical tech company.

“Our office works diligently to protect Kentucky families from potentially dangerous products,” said Kentucky’s Republican Attorney General Russell Coleman. "The Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection helps Kentuckians rest assured when they go to the store, they find safe and reliable products for their family.”

The multistate coalition investigated Johnson & Johnson for selling baby and baby powder products that contain talc. They found the company had misled customers about the safety of their products containing talc, which has been linked to cancer. Sometimes in its natural form talc can contain asbestos and is especially dangerous when inhaled, according to the American Cancer Society.

The settlement funds allocated to Kentucky will go into the state’s General Fund, where the legislature can choose how to spend it. Johnson & Johnson also agreed to stop manufacturing, promoting or selling products containing talcum powder in the United States.

It’s not the first time Johnson & Johnson has had to pay out big to Kentucky for its practices. In 2022, the company alongside three drug distributors agreed to pay $26 billion over their role in fueling the opioid epidemic. Kentucky specifically received $483 million of those funds. Johnson & Johnson also agreed as part of the settlement to stop selling opioids.

State government and politics reporting is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Sylvia is the Capitol reporter for Kentucky Public Radio, a collaboration including Louisville Public Media, WEKU-Lexington, WKU Public Radio and WKMS-Murray. Email her at sgoodman@lpm.org.
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