J&J Loses Another Cancer-Related Lawsuit

04.05.2016 -

US healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson plans to appeal a US jury’s award of $55 million in damages to Gloria Ristesund, who blamed her ovarian cancer – now in remission – on the company’s talc-powder products she used for feminine hygiene over decades. The second consecutive verdict against J&J, which is facing around 1,200 lawsuits related to the product, followed a three-week trial in a Missouri state court. It was the second case to be heard in the state.

The company has been accused of not adequately warning about the risks associated with the powder. In February, a Missouri state circuit court found J&J liable for fraud, negligence and conspiracy in the death of a 63-year-old Alabama woman from ovarian cancer in October 2015. The court ordered a payment of $72 million to the family of Jacqueline Fox, who had used the company’s Baby Powder and its Shower to Shower powder for several decades.

Shower to Shower is now owned by Valeant, which was not a defendant in either of the cases. In the only other talc powder and ovarian cancer case to be heard to date, jurors in the state of South Dakota in 2013 found J&J negligent of failing to warn consumers about the products, but did not award damages to the plaintiff, whose cancer was in remission at the time of the trial.

The news agency Reuters said the verdicts pronounced to date have “sparked renewed interest in talc-powder lawsuits among plaintiffs’ lawyers, as well as consumers familiar with J&J’s powder products.” The lawsuits are said to be concentrated in the states of Missouri and New Jersey.

A J&J spokeswoman told US media the verdict contradicts 30 years of research supporting the safety of cosmetic talc.