Medicine

Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $4.7bn in talc cancer lawsuit

Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $4.7bn in talc cancer lawsuit

Six of the women have died, so their families are pressing wrongful-death claims against Johnson & Johnson.

Most of the women in the St. Louis trial used baby powder, but others used Shower-to-Shower, another of J&J's talc-based products.

The payout comprises $US550 million in compensatory damages and $US4.14 billion in punitive damages. He did say that he expects the punitive damages award to be halved during the appeals process due to a Missouri state law that caps such damages, but is confident the verdict would stand overall.

Toni Roberts believes Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products caused her ovarian cancer.

The women also sued a unit of Imerys SA, which supplied the talc to J&J.

Aside from ovarian cancer lawsuits, jurors have hit the company with verdicts in mesothelioma cases in recent months as well.

The plaintiffs' lawyers said asbestos fibers and talc particles were found in the ovarian tissues of numerous women.

The latest case is one of a string of legal claims revolving around the alleged presence of asbestos in the talc Johnson & Johnson puts in products such as baby powder. However, there are questions about whether asbestos-free talc, which is the form used in modern products, poses a similar risk, according to the association. No asbestos was found in any of the talc samples, the agency said.

At times the case featured numbing technical debate over proper ways to test for asbestos, and whether microscopic mineral particles found in talc ores and finished powders should be classified as asbestos or something else.

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Meanwhile, the plaintiffs' lawyer, Mark Lanier, said in a statement that J&J should either pull its talc products from shelves or mark them with a "serious warning".

"Your voice is not just the voice of the community but the voice of the world", Lanier said.

"Faced with all this, what does the company do?" "It's outrageous the games and the tricks that they would go to", Lanier said. "Don't let them get off". It said it meant to appeal.

A separate but related set of lawsuits suggest Johnson & Johnson's powder is contaminated with asbestos. "Does that make common sense?" "But just because something awful happened doesn't mean Johnson & Johnson had anything to do with it".

She said the case was overwhelmed with "prejudice" because each plaintiff was awarded the same $25 million "irrespective of their individual facts", according to Bloomberg.

Plaintiffs' lawyer Mark Lanier told the jurors during closing arguments Wednesday that they were the first to see documents showing that Johnson & Johnson knew its products contained asbestos and didn't warn consumers.

"The company should pull talc from the market before causing further anguish, harm, and death from a awful disease", he added. J&J sells the same powders in a marvelously safe corn starch variety.

Pharmaceutical companies use talc to produce talcum powder, among other products.

The company faces around 9,000 of these cases. The other two are on appeal, facing the same challenges from Johnson & Johnson.