Johnson & Johnson has again lost in one of its legal battles that raise questions over the safety of its talc-based products.
J&J Ordered To Pay More Than $110 Million To Virginia Woman Diagnosed With Ovarian Cancer
On Thursday, May 4 a Missouri jury ordered the company to pay more than $110 million to a woman who claimed she developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson talc-based products for feminine hygiene.
The decision in the St. Louis state court is so far the largest out of about 2,400 lawsuits that accuse J&J of not providing adequate warning to its consumers about the cancer risk of its talc-based products, including the widely used Johnson's Baby Powder.
The lawsuits claim that the world's largest healthc are company ignored studies that link its baby powder and Shower to Shower talc products to ovarian cancer and failed to give adequate warnings to consumers about the risks.
Many of the lawsuits are pending in St. Louis. Three of the four prior trials here were not favorable to J&J and led to a $197 million verdict against the company and a talc supplier.
Thursday's verdict is for a lawsuit filed by Virginia resident Lois Slemp against J&J and talc supplier Imerys Talc.
Slemp, who currently undergoes chemotherapy, was initially diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. The illness has spread to her liver.
Long-Term Use of J&J Talc-Containing Products
Slemp claimed that her cancer developed after four decades of using J&J's talc-containing products, which include Johnson's Baby Powder and Shower to Shower Powder.
The jury ordered $5.4 million in compensatory damages as well as punitive damages of $50,000 against Imerys and $105 million against J&J.
"They chose to put profits over people, spending millions in efforts to manipulate scientific and regulatory scrutiny." said Ted Meadows, one of the lawyers who represented Slemp and other plaintiffs.
Studies Investigating Link Between Talcum Powder And Ovarian Cancer
Imerys spokesperson Gwen Myers said the verdict undermines scientific efforts to find out the true causes of ovarian cancer.
Several studies have looked into the potential link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer but the results are mixed. Some of the studies suggest a slightly increased risk while others reported finding no link at all. There is ongoing research to find out if talcum can indeed cause cancer of the ovaries.
"There is very little evidence at this time that any other forms of cancer are linked with consumer use of talcum powder," the American Cancer Society said in a statement. "Until more information is available, people concerned about using talcum powder may want to avoid or limit their use of consumer products that contain it."
J&J said that it plans to appeal and will continue to defend the safety of its products.