Johnson & Johnson’s litigation risks are weighing on its credit profile, according to Moody’s Investors Service, citing the news this week that the Supreme Court denied the company’s appeal regarding a talc lawsuit and ordered it to pay $2.5 billion to 20 plaintiffs. The payment includes the original $2.1 settlement, plus interest. J&J’s shares were down 0.4% in premarket trading on Thursday. The credit ratings agency on Wednesday cited ongoing “litigation exposure” for Johnson & Johnson, including the Supreme Court decision this week, an increasing number of talc lawsuits in different states, and a proposed $5 billion settlement framework related to opioid lawsuits. The talc lawsuits allege that J&J’s Baby Powder, which includes talcum powder, caused ovarian cancer in some women who used this product. As of April 4, there were at least 28,900 plaintiffs suing J&J over talc, according to an April 4 financial filing. J&J’s stock is up 5.6% so far this year, while the broader S&P 500 is up 12.0%.
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