A Missouri jury awarded the family of a woman $72,000,000 in a suit claiming that the company's talcum powder caused her ovarian cancer.
The St. Louis jury found that Johnson and Johnson actually knew about the association between talk-powder products and cancer for decades and failed to ward the public. The jury found the Pharma giant liable for fraud, negligence, and conspiracy. The jury awarded $10 million on compensatory damages and $62 million in punitive damages. This is the first jury award in these talk powder cases. For decades, women used talcum powder for feminine hygiene. It was used by sprinkling it on undergarments and the vaginal area to prevent odor or extra moisture.
Plaintiff Jackie Fox died of ovarian cancer after using Johnson's baby powder and Shower to Shower for feminine hygiene for more than 35 years. She died at the age of of 62. A study published in Cancer Prevention Research showed women who used talcum powder in the groin area had up to a 30 percent greater risk of developing ovarian cancer. Plaintiff's attorney claimed that J&J knew as far back as the 1980s of the risk, but mislead both the regulatory agencies and the public.
J&J has appealed claiming that its product is safe
According to the National Law Journal, Fox's attorneys introduced a 1997 letter from a former J&J consultant warning that the findings of nine scientific studies could end up comparing the talc industry to the cigarette industry.
The company is facing 1,200 more lawsuits from women and their families. J&J advertised to encourage women to switch from using cornstarch to using J&J talcum powder.