Jury awards record-setting $110.5 million in baby powder lawsuit
May 06, 2017, 08:46
Her cancer has since spread to her liver.
Slemp, a mother of two grown sons, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012.
Numerous plaintiffs have filed lawsuits accusing the company of ignoring studies linking its products to ovarian cancer and failing to warn customers about the risk.
She claimed that she developed cancer after four decades of daily use of talc-containing products produced by J&J, specifically J&J's Baby Powder and Shower to Shower Powder.
"We don't care how many trials it takes", said James Onder, one of the trial attorneys, noting that his firm will continue to support those suing the companies "until Johnson & Johnson and Imerys stand up and do the right thing".
Dr. Francisco Xynos, a gynecologic oncologist at SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital in St. Louis, told CBS affiliate KMOX that the scientific evidence of a cancer link is weak.
Thursday's verdict came in a lawsuit against J&J and talc supplier Imerys Talc by Lois Slemp, a resident of Virginia who is now undergoing chemotherapy after her ovarian cancer initially diagnosed in 2012 returned and spread to her liver. However, in 2006, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified talc as a possible carcinogen.
In the most recent previous case, in February 2016, a jury awarded Jacqueline Fox, of Birmingham, Alabama, $72 million, finding the company guilty of negligence, conspiracy and fraud.
J&J in a statement said it sympathised with women impacted by ovarian cancer but planned to appeal.
However, Johnson & Johnson is fighting back against claims that their talc-based products need warning labels. Also, the company clearly intends to keep fighting lawsuits alleging its iconic baby powder isn't safe, rather than settling suits at this point.
The biggest studies have found no link between talcum powder applied to the genitals and ovarian cancer. He added: "I hope this verdict prompts J&J to acknowledge the facts and help educate the medical community and the public about the proper use of their products". Talc naturally contains asbestos, which causes cancer. "Ovarian cancer is a rare disease, and increasing a small risk by a third still gives a small risk".
Despite the lawsuit, ovarian cancer is recognized as an elusive disease, as there is no screening program for detecting it early. About 22,000 women are diagnosed with it annually and 14,000 die from it, according to the American Cancer Society.
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