Johnson & Johnson Cancer: 417 Million Case: A Los Angeles jury sided with a California woman last week who blamed her diagnosis of ovarian cancer on decades of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder use.  The award of $417 million, consisting of $70 million in compensatory damages and $347 million in punitive damages, makes this the largest verdict against the company in talcum powder lawsuits.

From her hospital bed, Eva Echeverria, 63, said in videotaped testimony that she started using the powder when she was 11 years old and continued to do so even after her diagnosis of ovarian cancer, unaware of the possible link.

“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,” her attorney said.

A spokeswoman for Johnson & Johnson said the company plans to appeal the verdict and “will continue to defend the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder” because science supports the powder’s safety. They specifically referenced a National Cancer Institute report that states, “the weight of evidence does not support an association between perineal talc exposure and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.”

However, the National Cancer Institute also uses more ambiguous language here where talcum powder is listed under the category of “not clear” as to whether it causes an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Johnson & Johnson uses another baby powder formula which contains cornstarch rather than talc.  That formula has not been implicated in any ovarian cancer lawsuits.

This week’s verdict follows five other lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson that also alleged the company failed to warn the public of the possible link to ovarian cancer when the talcum powder is used for feminine hygiene purposes for extended periods of time.  Four of those lawsuits ruled in favor of the plaintiff’s, awarding over $307 million to victims.

There are currently almost 5,000 claims against the company alleging J&J knew of the risk of ovarian cancer with its Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products but chose to ignore the studies.

The case is Echeverria et al v. Johnson & Johnson, Los Angeles Superior Court, No. BC628228.

 

Johnson & Johnson Cancer 417 Million