Johnson and Johnson to Pay $72 Million Over Baby Powder Ovarian Cancer Lawsuit
Pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson, maker of the popular brands Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, has been found liable for a women’s death in connection with the use of the products. A jury has awarded Marvin Salter, the foster son of the deceased victim Jacqueline Fox of Birmingham Alabama, and the victim’s estate, a total of $ 72 million, $ 10 million in compensatory damages to Salter and $ 62 million in punitive damages to the estate. The verdict came at the end of the three-week trial and took jurors about five hours to deliberate. Johnson and Johnson was found guilty, according to the family’s lawyers, of fraud, negligence and conspiracy.
At the core of the case was the fact that Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, both contain talcum powder, a substance known to cause ovarian cancer. Ms. Fox had used the baby powder and Shower to Shower for feminine hygiene for over 35 years when she was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2013. She was 62 years old when she died last year in the middle of the lawsuit. Her foster son Marvin Salter pressed on with the trial.
The jury found in the civil trial, that Johnson and Johnson failed to warn women about the risks of using their talcum-based baby powder. In a 2013 talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit, Johnson and Johnson’s lawyers admitted that the company knew about the link between talcum use and ovarian cancer, but did not believe the risks to be significant enough to warrant a product warning.
According to Dr. Daniel W. Cramer, professor of Epidemiology at Harvard University, as many as 10,000 women each year develop ovarian cancer each year as the result of baby powder use.
Johnson and Johnson, the world’s largest maker of healthcare products, is expected to appeal the verdict. According to The Guardian, Johnson and Johnson spokesperson Carol Goodrich said the verdict “goes against decades of sound science proving the safety of talc as a cosmetic ingredient in multiple products,” citing supportive research by the US Food and Drug Administration and National Cancer Institute.
Approximately 1200 civil suits are pending against the company related to its talcum powder products. Tylenol pain reliever, Accuvue contact lenses and DePuy hip replacement parts are other dangerous and defective made by Johnson and Johnson that have been recalled.
Another talcum powder cancer lawsuit is scheduled for this spring in St. Louis. It looks like enough lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson that the verdicts may start happening at regular intervals now. Many legal experts are wondering just how many losses it will take for Johnson & Johnson, especially since such large verdicts may set a dangerous precedent if it comes to settling thousands upon thousands of lawsuits claiming that talcum powder can lead to ovarian cancer when used for adult feminine hygiene. At this rate, talcum powder can lawsuits represent the potential for billions of dollars of losses for Johnson & Johnson, not to mention presenting a serious public relations problem in the loss of consumer confidence.