Johnson & Johnson has lost another US lawsuit alleging that the firm knew of increased cancer risks from regular use of its talc-based products but failed to warn consumers, potentially paving the way for thousands more similar cases.
Gloria Ristesund argued that she developed ovarian cancer in 2011 after using J&J’s products for nearly four decades.
Siding with the claimant, a jury in St. Louis City, Missouri, awarded $5 million in compensation and $50 million in punitive damages.
“Science has been simple and consistent over the last 40 years: There’s an increased risk of ovarian cancer from genital use of talc,’’ Allen Smith, Ristesund’s lawyer, told the hearing, according to Bloomberg, also stressing that his client was not aware of this increased risk.
The suit follows a similar trial earlier this year in which J&J was ordered to pay $72 million to the family of a 62-year old woman who said she died of ovarian cancer after years of using its talcum powder for years.
However, the healthcare giant is denying any link between cancer and its products. In a statement, Carol Goodrich, spokesperson for Johnson & Johnson Consumer, said: “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.”
“Multiple scientific and regulatory reviews have determined that talc is safe for use in cosmetic products and the labelling on Johnson’s Baby Powder is appropriate,” she stressed.
The company will appeal the verdict.