Published: Sat, March 16, 2019
Markets | By Erika Turner

Johnson & Johnson must pay cancer-stricken woman $29mn in latest talcum trial

Johnson & Johnson must pay cancer-stricken woman $29mn in latest talcum trial

"Plaintiffs' attorneys have fundamentally failed to show that Johnson's Baby Powder contains asbestos, and their own experts concede that they are not recognizing the accepted definition of asbestos and are ignoring crucial distinctions between minerals that are asbestos and minerals that are not". The verdict said that the baby powder was a "substantial contributing factor" in her illness.

A jury in Missouri previous year awarded US$4.69 billion to 22 women.

We are disappointed with today's verdict and will pursue an appeal because Johnson's Baby Powder does not contain asbestos or cause cancer. In 2017, she was diagnosed with mesothelioma - a kind of cancer linked to asbestos exposure.

The lawsuit was brought by Leavitt was the first of more than a dozen J&J talc cases scheduled for trial in 2019.

The New Jersey-based company denies that its talc causes cancer, saying numerous studies and tests by regulators worldwide have shown that it is safe and asbestos-free. In December a year ago, the company reiterated the safety of its products as a slew of drug regulators around the world such as the US FDA and India's Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) analysed samples of J&J products.

About 8 out of 10 people with mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos. 'The internal J&J documents that the jury saw, once more laid bare the shocking truth of decades of cover- up, deception and concealment by J&J'.

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Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano on the fallout from a report that Johnson & Johnson's Baby Powder contained asbestos and the company was aware of it for decades.

While asbestos is classified as a known carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and other groups, the ACS says the science on whether talcum powder causes cancer is more ambiguous.

Leavitt's trial originally included Johnson & Johnson talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, a unit of Imerys SE, as a co-defendant. All told, the pharmaceutical company faces more than 13,000 talc-related lawsuits nationwide, Reuters reports.

"It's not clear to us the read-through this case has to the other trials or that these decisions will be upheld on appeal (where the technical merits will likely find a more receptive audience than a jury)", the analysts wrote.

J&J said it would appeal, pointing to "serious procedural and evidentiary errors", Reuters reported.

Almost 14,000 cases involving people who believe that J&J's talc powder caused their cancer are making their way through the US legal system.

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