After a six-week trial, a jury in Missouri awarded nearly $4.7 billion in total damages to 22 women and their families on July 12th. The plaintiffs said asbestos in Johnson & Johnson talcum powder contributed to their ovarian cancer. Thousands of women have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and other companies that sell talcum powder, but this is the largest verdict J&J has faced over talc-based products. It’s also the sixth largest product defect award in U.S. history.
Their lawyers alleged Johnson and Johnson was aware that the talcum-based products contained asbestos since the 1970s but chose not to warn consumers about the risks.
Johnson & Johnson said they were “deeply disappointed” and that the verdict is unfair, saying courts should not have allowed women to sue the company in Missouri when most of them do not live in the state. The company plans to appeal, as it has in previous cases.
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Lawyers said that there were asbestos fibers and talc particles found inside the ovarian tissues of many of the women. Medical experts testified that asbestos is mixed in with the talc, the primary ingredient in Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products. Mark Lanier, the lead counsel for the women, said Johnson & Johnson covered up evidence of asbestos in the talc-based products for more than 40 years.
We hope this verdict will get the attention of the J&J board and that it will lead them to better inform the medical community and the public about the connection between asbestos, talc and ovarian cancer. The company should pull talc from the market before causing further anguish, harm and death from a terrible disease.” – Mark Lanier
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Johnson & Johnson has been sued by more than 9,000 women with claims that the talcum powder products contributed to ovarian cancer.
Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay $4.7bn (£3.6bn) in damages to 22 women who alleged that its talc products caused them to develop ovarian cancer.
Six of the 22 women represented in this case had died from ovarian cancer.
- Jury orders J&J to pay $4.7 billion in Missouri asbestos cancer case – Reuters
- Jury orders J&J to pay $4.7 billion in Missouri asbestos cancer case – NY Times