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Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Pay $18.8 Million in Talc Cancer Suit This week, the company also filed a separate but unrelated lawsuit against the Biden Administration.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Key Takeaways

  • On Tuesday, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $18.8 million in a talc lawsuit over cancer claims.
  • In a separate case, also on Tuesday, the company filed a lawsuit suing the Biden Administration over the government's new drug price negotiation authority.
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On Tuesday, John & Johnson (J&J) filed a lawsuit suing the Biden administration over Medicare's new authority to reduce drug prices, joining Merck and Bristol Myers Squibb in challenging the controversial provision of the Inflation Reduction Act.

The Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law in August 2022, aims to fight inflation, lower the deficit, and reduce carbon emissions, among other goals. It includes reforms to the tax system, investments in clean energy, and allows Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices.

The lawsuit argues that the IRA Medicare price negotiations violate the First and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution by "coercing" the company into "agreeing" that the government is "negotiating" a "fair" price and compels the company "to make false and misleading statements," according to the complaint.

Additionally, the company believes that the IRA will stifle medical progress.

"We believe that the IRA's pricing provisions will constrain medical innovation, limit patient access and choice, and negatively impact the overall quality of patient care," J&J wrote in a press release on Tuesday.

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department said it will "vigorously defend the President's drug price negotiation law, which is already helping to lower health care costs for seniors and people with disabilities," per CNBC.

How Much Did J&J Pay for Talc Cancer Lawsuit?

Also on Tuesday, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) was ordered to pay $18.8 million to a California man who claimed he developed cancer from using the company's baby powder, Reuters reported.

Emory Hernandez Valadez, 24, filed a lawsuit last year against J&J claiming he developed mesothelioma due to prolonged exposure to the company's talc since childhood.

Related: Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Pay $55 Million in Talc-Powder Trial

Talc is a soft mineral used in various consumer products like baby powder and cosmetics for its ability to absorb moisture and reduce friction. However, its use has also been subject to controversy, particularly with J&J, which has faced thousands of lawsuits alleging its talc-based products are contaminated with cancer-causing asbestos.

In April, the company filed for bankruptcy through a subsidiary, LTL Management, with a proposal to settle over 38,000 lawsuits for $8.9 billion. However, most litigation has been halted during bankruptcy proceedings. The reason Hernandez's trial proceeded was due to his terminal condition and the rarity of his form of mesothelioma, setting it apart from the majority of cases against J&J, Reuters added.

The jury ruled in favor of Hernandez on Tuesday. While Hernandez was awarded damages for medical bills and strife, the jury did not grant punitive damages against J&J.

The company plans to appeal the verdict, maintaining that its products are safe and do not cause cancer, per Reuters.

Erik Haas, J&J vice president of litigation, told the outlet that the verdict is "irreconcilable with the decades of independent scientific evaluations confirming Johnson's Baby Powder is safe, does not contain asbestos, and does not cause cancer."

Related: Johnson & Johnson Hit With More Than $1 Billion Verdict on Hip Implants

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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