Earlier this year in February, Johnson & Johnson got its first verdict in a string of allegations over cancer risks relating to talc-based products. A St. Louis jury awarded a sum of $72 million in damages to the family of Jacqueline Fox, a woman who died from ovarian cancer, claimed to be from long term use of talc-based Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.
Jurors in a Missouri court ruled that the family should get $10 million of actual damages and $62 million of punitive damages, according to court records. Shockingly around 1,000 cancer related cases have been linked to Johnson & Johnson talc products, which have been filed in Missouri and another 200 in New Jersey.
However, last month things took another sad turn for the American pharmaceutical company, while the past few disputes have been a matter of scientific dispute over ovarian cancer and talc, a St. Louis jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay another $55 million to a South Dakota survivor of the disease.
There are around several other hundred lawsuits claiming on a regular basis that applying products like Johnson's Baby Powder and Shower to Shower to the genitals can cause the often-lethal cancer. The cases were handles by Onder Law Firm from St.Louis. The firm also urges other victims to come forward. Attorney Jim Onder stated that the company targeted overweight women, blacks and Hispanics, "knowing that those groups were most at-risk for talc-related ovarian cancer," he said. "It's horrible."
"Unfortunately, the jury's decision goes against 30 years of studies by medical experts around the world that continue to support the safety of cosmetic talc," Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman Carol Goodrich said in a statement.
Teri Brickey, forewoman of the jury that decided the latest case by a 9-3 vote, said she found the science presented by the plaintiffs more believable.
"I will never use talc again. It's definitely concerning to me," Brickey, 45, told The Associated Press. "I think it's a potential health hazard for some women a small percentage, but it is a percentage."
Onder expressed that Johnson & Johnson will probably consider a settlement after two big losses.
"One blockbuster jury award can be written off as a fluke, when you have two, it starts to look like a trend, and a very worrying one for Johnson & Johnson." said Nora Freeman Engstrom, a Stanford University law professor. There may be other talc products also causing such damage, sadly for Johnson & Johnson they are under the heat.
The medical team in charge has not reached a agreement on talc as a possible carcinogen. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies genital use as "possibly carcinogenic." The National Toxicology Program, made up of parts of several different government agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, has not fully reviewed talc.