Published: Sat, March 16, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Johnson & Johnson chalks up another talc loss with $29M mesothelioma verdict

Johnson & Johnson chalks up another talc loss with $29M mesothelioma verdict

Even though Leavitt stopped using baby powder two decades ago, recent tests of her lung tissue showed evidence of asbestos, an expert witness testifying for the plaintiff told jurors at one point in the trial.

Just past year, a jury decided that Johnson & Johnson had to pay more than $4 billion in damages to a group of women who claimed that asbestos in its products caused their ovarian cancers.

The nine-week trial that began on January 7 involved a jury that deliberated for two days before delivering the verdict in California Superior Court in Oakland, the report said.

Leavitt believes her cancer was caused by Johnson & Johnson's Baby Powder and Shower to Shower - another powder containing talc sold by J&J in the past - which she used in the 1960s and 1970s. The jury decided against awarding punitive damages, which are created to punish the defendants - in this case Johnson & Johnson and the other companies involved in making the talcum powder - for reckless or negligent behavior. In December past year, the company reiterated the safety of its products as a slew of drug regulators around the world such as the US FDA and India's Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) analysed samples of J&J products.

The lawsuit is just one of thousands of similar lawsuits Johnson & Johnson is facing.

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A J&J spokeswoman said the company is "disappointed with today's verdict and will pursue an appeal because Johnson's Baby Powder does not contain asbestos or cause cancer".

The company said in a statement, shared with PEOPLE, that they plan to appeal the ruling.

The conglomerate said it would appeal the order and cited "serious procedural and evidentiary errors" in the trial's proceedings.

In December, Reuters published an in-depth investigation that showed Johnson & Johnson knew its baby powder occasionally tested positive for small amounts of asbestos and covered up the findings. The company is now embroiled in roughly 13,000 lawsuits brought by people who claim the company's products caused or contributed to serious health issues, the AP reports. It found no asbestos in any of them.

Despite the verdicts, Johnson & Johnson maintains that its baby powder formula does not contain asbestos, and set up a website called "Facts about Talc" to try and dissuade the public from continuing to think one of its most popular products contains the harmful mineral.

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