A St. Louis jury has awarded $70 million in damages to a California woman who claims she developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson's trademark baby powder for decades. She said at a news conference Friday that she used Johnson's Baby Power for 45 years before being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012.
She has an 80 per cent chance of dying in the next two years, and has undergone surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, they said.
In this week's verdict the City of St. Louis Circuit Court jury awarded Deborah Giannecchini $70.075 million after agreeing the products contributed to the development of her ovarian cancer.
Factors that are known to increase a women's risk of ovarian cancer include age, obesity, use of estrogen therapy after menopause, not having any children, certain genetic mutations and personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer. In J&J's home state of New Jersey a judge recently threw out two other cases, ruling there wasn't reliable evidence talc causes ovarian cancer.
"This verdict is extremely good news for the hundreds of other plaintiffs pursuing similar ovarian cancer lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson". Another woman, Gloria Ristesund, was awarded $55 million in a separate verdict several months ago.
Johnson & Johnson deny the claims. The companies say the product is safe.
The science remains divided on talc, the soft mineral ground into white powder and used to absorb moisture in many cosmetic products. The company's talc supplier, Imerys Talc America Inc., was ordered to pay $2.5 million.
This is the latest trial the multinational has lost in a row over the health risks associated with extended use of its popular product.
"This verdict serves to undermine efforts by the scientific community to determine the true causes of ovarian cancer, " Mr. Rene said.
The company is now facing 1200 individual defendants - in cases that are pending in both state and federal courts - accusing them of ignoring the studies that link their Shower to Shower product to ovarian cancer.
In his 33-page opinion, Johnson said the testimony of Dr. Daniel Cramer, a professor at Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women's Hospital, and Dr.
Dr. Daniel Cramer studied talc powder and ovarian cancer and says, "There have been more than 20 epidemiological studies and a more than half have found an elevated risk".
The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies use of talc for feminine hygiene as "possibly carcinogenic to humans", while the National Toxicology Program has not fully reviewed it as a possible carcinogen.