Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $4.7 billion in damages to cancer patients

Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay $4.7bn (£3.6bn) in damages to 22 women who claim the company's baby powder and other talcum powder products caused them to develop ovarian cancer. Ingham v. Johnson & Johnson, 1522-CC10417.

J&J says there is no asbestos in its baby powder and other talc-based products, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted a survey in 2009 and 2010 that seemed to back this up.

After the punitive damages were announced, plaintiffs, their family members and their lawyers gathered around the jurors, hugging them and thanking them. Women need to know because they're putting it on their babies'.

The jury award includes $550 million in compensatory damages and $4.14 billion in punitive damages.

The jury is considering punitive damages against the company for failing to warn about cancer risk, according to a press release. Berg claimed that she turned down a settlement of United States dollars 1.3 million from the company and instead wanted it to put warning stickers on their products. They also heard from the cancer survivors themselves and the loved ones of six plaintiffs who have died from their cancer.

"Yes, this is awful", Bicks said of the women's cancer. She said she used Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder regularly, even up until the day she went in for cancer surgery.

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Johnson & Johnson "rigged" tests to avoid showing the presence of asbestos, Mr. Lanier said. They need to know what's going on. The company said that several studies approved their talc as safe and that the verdict was the result of a "fundamentally unfair process" that allowed the women to be represented as a single plaintiff. Previous talc-cancer trials have focused on claims that the talc itself, rather than asbestos, causes ovarian cancer, or that asbestos in talc causes mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer.

To place the size of Thursday's verdict in perspective, the award would equal about 6.1% of the multi-national company's roughly $76.5 billion in 2017 reported revenue.

The company now faces about 9,000 talc-cancer cases in state and federal court, according to published reports, with the bulk of state court cases in Missouri, New Jersey, and California, according to J&J's May 2018 quarterly report.

Johnson & Johnson denied the claim and insisted that their products do not cause cancer. The verdict comes in the first test of plaintiffs' claims of an asbestos ovarian cancer link in use of J&J's iconic baby powder.

'The company should pull talc from the market before causing further anguish, harm, and death from a awful disease'. The other two are on appeal, facing the same challenges from J&J. "Johnson & Johnson remains confident that its products do not contain asbestos and do not cause ovarian cancer", J&J said in a statement.

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