A US jury in the state of Missouri has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $72m (£51m) in damages to the family of a woman who claimed her death was linked to use of the company’s baby talcum powder.
Jackie Fox from Birmingham, Alabama died of ovarian cancer last year at the age of 62, having used J&J’s talc and Shower to Shower feminine hygiene products for decades.
This is the first verdict in a string of allegations over cancer risks related to talc-based products. About 1,000 cases have been filed in Missouri state court, and another 200 in New Jersey.
The Mail Online reports:
Lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson claim that in an effort to boost sales, the pharmaceutical giant failed for decades to warn consumers that its talc-based products could cause cancer.
The jury said that Ms Fox was entitled to $10million in actual damages and $62million in punitive damages.
A Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman said Tuesday that the New Jersey-based company was considering whether to appeal the verdict.
Jacqueline Fox claimed in her complaint that she used Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for feminine hygiene for more than 35 years before being diagnosed three years ago with ovarian cancer.
Jurors in the circuit court of St. Louis on Monday night found Johnson & Johnson liable for fraud, negligence and conspiracy, the family’s lawyers said. Deliberations lasted four hours, following a three-week trial.
Jere Beasley, a lawyer for Fox’s family, said Johnson & Johnson ‘knew as far back as the 1980s of the risk,’ and yet resorted to ‘lying to the public, lying to the regulatory agencies.’
In October 2013, a federal jury in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, found that plaintiff Deane Berg’s use of Johnson & Johnson’s body powder products was a factor in her developing ovarian cancer at age 49. Nevertheless, it awarded no damages, court records show.
Carol Goodrich, a Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman, said: ‘We have no higher responsibility than the health and safety of consumers, and we are disappointed with the outcome of the trial. We sympathize with the plaintiff’s family but firmly believe the safety of cosmetic talc is supported by decades of scientific evidence.’