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Johnson & Johnson Paying Over $100 Million To Settle Baby Powder Lawsuits: Report

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) appears to be reaching deep into its coffers to settle a clutch of lawsuits. According to an article published on Monday by Bloomberg and citing “people with knowledge of the pacts,” the healthcare giant has agreed to pay over $100 million to settle more than 1,000 lawsuits over its Johnson’s Baby Powder.

The lawsuits, some of which stretch back several years, allege that repeated use of the talc-based powder caused cancer. Some claimants say that the product is tainted with asbestos, a substance notorious for causing the illness.

That $100 million would only be an initial outlay; according to regulatory filings, the total number of lawsuits pending is around 20,000. Several have already been resolved, with substantial awards. One, completed in 2018, saw a court ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $4.7 billion, although this was significantly reduced to $2.1 billion on appeal. Other lawsuits have been dismissed.

“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 spokeswoman Kim Montagnino wrote in an email statement quoted by Bloomberg.

The company has maintained from the start of the Johnson’s Baby Powder controversy that its product is not carcinogenic. It isn’t wavering on that stance. “Our talc is safe, does not contain asbestos, and does not cause cancer,” Montagnino added in her statement.

Johnson & Johnson Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a Missouri jury to pay over $110 million to a Virginia woman after she developed ovarian cancer from using its talc-based products, May 4, 2017. In this photo, a Johnson & Johnson logo at Safe Kids Day 2016 at Smashbox Studios in Los Angeles, California, April 24, 2016. Photo: Getty Images

This article originally appeared in the Motley Fool.

Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Pfizer, BioNTech, Regeneron Hit With Patent Lawsuits Over COVID-19 Drugs And Vaccines

Three top names in the fight against the coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease that can result from it have been sued for patent infringement. The trio includes Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN), Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), and BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX). The plaintiff is privately held Allele Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals.

Allele alleges that the three all used its mNeonGreen fluorescent protein to develop their COVID-19 products without paying royalties for the substance. Medical researchers inject fluorescent proteins into cells to track reactions within those bodies. This tracking is used to help determine the effect of medicines and vaccines on the body.

Regeneron is currently developing REGN-COV2, an experimental cocktail of two antibodies to treat COVID-19. The company became a hot topic last week when it was revealed President Donald Trump was administered REGN-COV2 as part of his treatment for COVID-19.

Pfizer and BioNTech have teamed up to develop a coronavirus vaccine; their candidate, BNT162b2, is considered one of the front-runners in the race to bring a vaccine to market.

mNeonGreen was allegedly used in both programs. Allele said in its complaint, filed in a California federal court, that “only through the use of mNeonGreen” were the companies able to develop their products with relative speed.

This, in turn, allowed them to be awarded “an immediate $400 million in grants and over $4 billion in sales of the vaccine to date,” although BNT162b2 has, like other candidates, not yet been approved for use by any major pharmaceutical regulator. Allele is seeking to recover the royalties for its product, although it wasn’t immediately clear how much it is requesting.

Regeneron said it disagreed with Allele’s complaint and would “vigorously defend” its position in court. Neither Pfizer nor BioNTech has formally reacted to the lawsuit.

This article originally appeared in the Motley Fool.

Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The Pfizer company logo is seen in front of Pfizer's headquarters in New York The Pfizer company logo is seen in front of Pfizer’s headquarters in New York Photo: AFP / Don EMMERT

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