Johnson & Johnson Loses $110M Talc Powder Verdict

Francis Osborne
May 6, 2017

Johnson & Johnson said in a statement to The Associated Press that it would appeal the decision and continues to defend the safety of its baby powder.

Johnson & Johnson is standing behind its product.

A jury in the United States has ordered health products giant Johnson & Johnson to pay more than US$110 million [NZ$159 million] to a woman for allegedly failing to disclose the cancer risk from its baby powder and another product.

That verdict broke a three-trial winning streak by plaintiffs that began with a verdict in February 2016 in which a jury awarded $72 million to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer. She blames her illness on her use of the company's talcum powder-containing products for more than 40 years.

Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a Missouri jury to pay over $110 million ($A148m) to a Virginia woman who says she developed ovarian cancer after decades of using its talc-based products for feminine hygiene.

The company said it would quickly appeal the verdict awarded by a St. Louis jury, the fourth such losing case for J&J and Imerys SA, the talc mining company.

Slemp was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012.

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Santa Clara, CAA jury in Missouri has found against Johnson & Johnson (J&J) in the latest ovarian cancer talcum powder lawsuit brought by Lois Slemp of Virginia.

Numerous talc cases are in St. Louis, where J&J has argued the jury pool is tainted due to millions in ad spending by its opponents.

J&J's stock barely budged in pre-market trading Friday, falling 0.1% to $123.87. The company also faces multiple federal class-action suits in the matter, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Few studies highlight a risk of cancer, but these depend on the participant's personal reminiscence of how much talcum powder they used throughout all of their life.

Clinical trials have so far led to mixed results, with some indicating a link between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer, whereas others have not been able to establish any such link. Other studies claim that there is no risk whatsoever, while ovarian cancer societies assure that even a slight increase in the risk of suffering from ovarian cancer is critical because of it being such a rare disease.

In its natural form, talc can sometimes contain asbestos, which is known to cause cancers in and around the lungs when inhaled.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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