Published: Sat, May 06, 2017
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Jury awards record-setting $110.5M in baby powder lawsuit

Jury awards record-setting $110.5M in baby powder lawsuit

She alleged that J&J concealed the possibility that talc in its baby powder and Shower to Shower products can cause cancer. Johnson & Johnson's agreed to buy Guidant Corp, a defibrillator manufacturer for $25.4 billion.

A jury in St. Louis awarded a Virginia woman a record-setting $110.5 million in the latest lawsuit alleging that using Johnson & Johnson's baby powder caused cancer.

St. Louis jury verdicts in three cases totaled $197 million against the company past year.

An attorney for the plaintiff told jurors that J&J didn't warn women of studies linking talc to ovarian cancer to protect the company's image.

Thursday's verdict came in a lawsuit against J&J and talc supplier Imerys Talc by Ms Lois Slemp, who is undergoing chemotherapy after her ovarian cancer first diagnosed in 2012 returned and spread to her liver. Another 200 individual suits are now pending in a federal multidistrict litigation proceeding in New Jersey, and about 350 lawsuits have been filed in state courts in California, New Jersey and Delaware.

A J&J spokeswoman said a jury decision in the company's favor in St. Louis in March and the dismissal of two cases in New Jersey in September 2016 "further highlight the lack of credible scientific evidence behind plaintiffs' allegations".

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In a statement issued May 4 by Carol Goodrich of Johnson & Johnson Global Media Relations, the company expressed sympathy for those impacted by ovarian cancer, but reaffirmed its intent to challenge the St. Louis court's verdict.

Johnson & Johnson said it would appeal the verdict.

There are about 2,000 lawsuits nationwide related to women using Johnson & Johnson's talcum-based baby powder for feminine hygiene and then developing adverse effects. Talc naturally contains asbestos, which causes cancer. Some studies report a slightly increased risk in women who reported using talcum powder in the genital area, while other studies found no increased risk at all.

The evidence concerning asbestos-free talcum products and cancer risk is more unclear.

Meanwhile, J&J has refused to accept the link between its talcum powder and ovarian cancer. However, in 2006, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified talc as a possible carcinogen. They agree that early menopause can be a concern for most women, but they also say that it is not very likely that regular checkups are saving lives.

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