Published: Wed, August 23, 2017
Medical | By Carla Vaughn

Johnson & Johnson faced with $417m payout after latest consumer lawsuit

Johnson & Johnson faced with $417m payout after latest consumer lawsuit

A California jury dealt drug and consumer health giant Johnson & Johnson its biggest blow yet Monday in an ongoing legal saga over its talc products, which plaintiffs allege can cause ovarian cancer when used for feminine hygiene.

While Echeverria is undergoing her treatment for cancer, her attorney Mark Robinson said that they were hoping that with this case, the company will at least be forced to put warnings on its products.

This is far from the first time a jury has sided with the plaintiff in a case where a woman claims using baby powder on their genitals played a key role in the growth of cancer. The company immediately announced it would seek to overturn Monday's verdict, saying science supports the safety of Johnson & Johnson's Baby Powder.

Echeverria said in a video deposition she stopped using the power in 2016 when she saw a news story about a woman with ovarian cancer who had also used the product.

Lawyers for Echeverria said that Johnson encouraged women to use their products without warning of any carcinogenic features.

The debate over talcum powder, which is a naturally-occurring material made of magnesium silicon and other elements - but which bears some similarity to asbestos - continues.

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The company also pointed to an April finding by the National Cancer Institute's Physician Data Query Editorial Board: "The weight of evidence does not support an association between perineal talc exposure and an increased risk of ovarian cancer". Three other trials took place here and all of them were awarded a compensatory amount for damages.

In March a St. Louis jury rejected the claims of a Tennessee woman with ovarian and uterine cancer who blamed talcum powder for her disease. So even if talc does increase the risk slightly, very few women who use talc will ever get ovarian cancer.

Echeverria, diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007, was too weak to show up in the court after a surgeon removed a softball-sized tumour.

Some other talc-based powders on the market carry labels that mention possible risk of ovarian cancer after frequent application in the female genital area.

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

A jury has now awarded a California woman a whopping $417 million in the case she brought against Johnson & Johnson, according to Reuters.

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