Talc powder-cancer link: Johnson & Johnson face payout of $417 million – largest sum as award in lawsuit


    New Delhi: American multinational pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, lately.

    The company that also sells consumer packaged goods, has earned a bad name due to its baby talcum powder, ever since women slammed the product saying it caused ovarian cancer.

    In an earlier case, Johnson & Johnson faced a payout of $72 million worth of damages to Jackie Fox, a 62-year-old woman who died of ovarian cancer in 2015, two years after being diagnosed.

    In another case, later, Lois Slemp, a resident of Virginia, claimed she developed cancer after four decades of using talc-containing products manufactured by J&J, including J&J’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower Powder and Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay over $110 million to her.

    Now, slamming the company with another lawsuit for the same reason, a Los Angeles jury on Monday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a whopping record $417 million to a hospitalised woman who claimed that the talc in the company’s iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene.

    $417 million is the largest sum awarded in a series of talcum powder lawsuit verdicts against Johnson & Johnson in courts around the US.

    According to an Associated Press (AP) report, the verdict in the lawsuit was brought by the California woman, Eva Echeverria, who alleged Johnson & Johnson failed to adequately warn consumers about talcum powder’s potential cancer risks. She used the company’s baby powder on a daily basis beginning in the 1950s until 2016 and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007, according to court papers.

    Echeverria developed ovarian cancer as a “proximate result of the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder,” she said in her lawsuit.

    Mark Robinson, Echeverria’s attorney, said that his client is hospitalised and her treatment is underway. She told him that she hoped the verdict would lead Johnson & Johnson to put additional warnings on its products.

    The Associated Press quoted Robinson saying that, “ 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.”

    The jury’s award included $68 million in compensatory damages and $340 million in punitive damages, Robinson said.

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