Project Plato was a secret plan by pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson to restrict payments to people who had gotten cancer from J&Js talc products, furthering the list of ways in which the company has put profit over patients.

According to Reuters, Johnson & Johnson created a plan in 2021 to limit the financial bleeding from billions of dollars in jury awards to plaintiffs who alleged the company’s Baby Powder and other talc products caused deadly cancers. The healthcare and consumer-goods giant assigned more than 30 staffers to “Project Plato.” In a memo on the project in July, a company lawyer warned the team: Tell no one, not even your spouse.

Before the Reuters article was published, Johnson & Johnson tried to get a U.S. judge to block Reuters from publishing a story based on what it said were confidential company documents about the healthcare giant’s legal maneuvers to fight lawsuits claiming its Baby Powder caused cancer.

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