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Jury Awards $70 Million To Ovarian Cancer Patient In Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder Lawsuit

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Johnson & Johnson has lost another trial over claims that its talcum powder can cause ovarian cancer.

On Thursday, Oct. 27 a St. Louis jury awarded a California woman more than $70 million in a lawsuit that alleged the long-term use of Johnson & Johnson's baby powder caused her cancer, ending the trial that began Sept. 26.

Deborah Giannecchini of Modesto, California, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012, accused the company of negligent conduct for making and marketing the baby powder she had been using for feminine hygiene for more than four decades.

Giannecchini has an 80 percent likelihood of dying in the next two years because of her condition and has undergone radiation, surgery and chemotherapy.

The case was Johnson & Johnson's third lost trial over allegations questioning the safety of its baby powder. Earlier this year, two other lawsuits in St. Louis also ended in verdicts that awarded the plaintiffs large amounts of money.

Thursday's verdict may not be the last for Johnson & Johnson since about 2,000 other women have already filed similar suits. Lawyers are also conducting reviews of thousands of other potential cases, many of which were generated by ads that touted the two big verdicts this year: one that awarded $72 million to family members of a woman from Alabama who died of ovarian cancer, and another that awarded $55 million to a South Dakota survivor of ovarian cancer.

Giannecchini's lawyer, Allen Smith, said that the company was aware of the increased risk of ovarian cancer from use of talc. He said that the verdict strengthens the need for Johnson & Johnson to warn the public about the link between its product and ovarian cancer risk.

"I think the jury heard our message loud and clear," Smith said. "If this doesn't send a message to J&J to add a warning, I don't know what will."

Johnson & Johnson, however, maintained its stand on the safety of its product, denying any link between the use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer.

Company spokeswoman Carol Goodrich said that science supports the safety of Johnson's Baby Powder and said that the company will make an appeal.

In a statement released in May this year, the company cited two large studies, the Nurses' Health Study and the the Women's Health Initiative Observational Cohort, that did not find a link between talc and ovarian cancer.

"After 30 years of studies by medical experts around the world, science, research and clinical evidence continues to support the safety of cosmetic talc," the company said. "Various governmental and non-governmental agencies as well as other expert panels have reviewed and analyzed all available data, and none have concluded that talc can cause cancer."

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