J&J hit with $417m bill in talc cancer claim

Gladys Abbott
August 22, 2017

Share this article: By Austin Kirk (https://www.flickr.com/photos/aukirk/12795954293/) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsA Los Angeles jury Monday awarded $417 million to an ovarian cancer patient who alleged her disease was caused by the use of Johnson & Johnson talcum powder.

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has been ordered to pay a woman $417m (£323m) in the latest cancer compensation case relating to its talc-based products.

While the verdicts were awarded to women who regularly used the company's baby powder for feminine hygiene, the question whether the product does any harm to babies did not come up. J&J, which faces 5,500 claims in USA courts, has lost four previous jury verdicts in St. Louis for a total of $300 million.

Ms Echeverria was awarded $70m in compensatory damages and $347m in punitive damages.

She says the company sympathizes with ovarian cancer patients but insisted science supports the safety of Johnson's baby powder.

It was in February previous year that it lost its first damages lawsuit.

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Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman Carol Goodrich says in a statement the company will appeal the jury's decision. "We are preparing to defend the safety of Johnson's Baby Powder".

The Missouri cases, which have largely been brought by out-of-state plaintiffs, have faced jurisdictional questions after the US Supreme Court issued a ruling in June that limited where personal injury lawsuits can be filed.

"Mrs. Echeverria is dying from this ovarian cancer and she said to me all she wanted to do was to help the other women throughout the whole country who have ovarian cancer for using Johnson & Johnson for 20 and 30 years", said Robinson, according to Chicago Tribune. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007. A judge in New Jersey tossed out two similar cases saying the plaintiffs' lawyers did not present reliable evidence linking talc to ovarian cancer.

Some other talc-based powders on the market carry labels that mention possible risk of ovarian cancer after frequent application in the female genital area. So far the company has been hit with $307m (£238m) in verdicts. It has already suffered four defeats from verdicts in St. Louis totaling $300 million, Bloomberg reports.

The California Superior Court for Los Angeles County jury reached the verdict just moments ago against Johnson & Johnson and Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.

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