Sunday, 22 July, 2018

$4.69 Billion Verdict Pounds Johnson & Johnson in 22-Plaintiff, Talc-Cancer Trial

Bottles of Johnson & Johnson baby powder line a drugstore shelf in New York Bottles of Johnson & Johnson baby powder line a drugstore shelf in New York
Celia Hoffman | 13 July, 2018, 19:39

The plaintiffs argued that Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder products, like baby powder, caused them to develop ovarian cancer.

A jury in U.S. decided in favour of the women and ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay up $500 million plus $4.1 billion punitive damages. The company said it remained confident that its products do not contain asbestos or cause cancer.

After the punitive damages were announced, plaintiffs, their family members and their lawyers gathered around the jurors, hugging them and thanking them.

"If there were a link, any increase in risk would be fairly small, and as ovarian cancer is a relatively rare disease, overall women who use talc would still have a low chance of developing the disease".

The $4.69 billion award is the largest jury award in the United States this year, Bloomberg reported. J&J should pull its talc-based products from the market or "mark it with a serious warning", he said.

Ingham, who used baby powder for decades, said she joined the lawsuit because women who use baby powder "need to know what's in there".

Johnson & Johnson has been hit with its biggest penalty yet over the allegation that its talcum powders cause cancer. Already, Johnson & Johnson is reeling from the decision; its stock is down almost 3% in premarket trading.

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A separate but related set of lawsuits suggest Johnson & Johnson's powder is contaminated with asbestos.

J&J is battling another 9,000 cases.

The company has been fighting claims that talc powder is unsafe for years.

The jury's decision that J&J's baby powder caused ovarian cancer could be more significant in the long-run then the large payout, as its stock dropped 1.4% after Thursday's verdict against its renowned product.

The women in the St Louis trial, whose jobs range from school bus driver to executive director of a job retraining programme, come from states across the country, including Pennsylvania, California, Arizona and NY. "But sympathy aside, the plaintiffs have not come anywhere close to proving their case".

J&J's statement reiterated its contention that its talc is asbestos-free and promised to challenge the decision. A jury found Johnson & Johnson negligent but did not award damages to the plaintiff. Mineral traces in the talc aren't proof of asbestos contamination, Mr. Bicks said. Plus, many appeals courts cut back punitive damages awards on appeal.

The trial is one of many proceedings CVN has recorded in Missouri, California, and SC state courts as part of its extensive talc litigation coverage.

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