A state jury in Missouri ordered Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) to pay $72 million in damages to the family of a woman, who died from ovarian cancer that was linked to her use of the company’s talc Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for several decades.
The jurors in the circuit court of St. Louis awarded the family of Jacqueline Fox $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages, according to Reuters based on court records and the statement of the lawyers representing Ms. Fox’s family. The jury announced the verdict on Monday night.
Jere Beasley, an attorney for Fox said Johnson and Johnson is a company that showed no concern and no remorse for the people that are dying of cancer using its products. According to him, the company knew since 1979 that talc has been linked to ovarian cancer.
Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers
Atty. Beasley said Johnson & Johnson” knew that 1,500 women were dying each year from ovarian cancer caused or indirectly contributed to by talc, continued to sell its product, and made a conscientious a decision not to warn consumers.” He added that the company manipulated the media, the scientific community, and government agencies.
Johnson &Johnson is currently facing approximately 1,000 lawsuits in Missouri and additional 200 cases in New Jersey in connection to the cancer deaths linked to the company’s talc-based products.
Fox claimed that he used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower feminine hygiene for more than 35 years. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer three years ago and died at the age of 62 in October.
The jurors found that Johnson & Johnson was guilty of conspiracy, fraud, and negligence, according to the lawyers representing Fox’s family.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:VRX) is now the owner of the Shower to Shower brand. The company was not a defendant in the Fox lawsuit.
Johnson & Johnson’s reaction to the court decision
Carol Goodrich, the spokesperson for Johnson & Johnson 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.”
Danielle Mason, another lawyer who also represented the Fox family said trials for several other lawsuits related to the company’s talc products have been scheduled later this year.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a part of the World Health Organization (WHO) determined that a talc containing asbestos is cancinogenic humans.