J&J wins Another Talc-related Lawsuit

20.11.2017 -

US healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has won another victory in a string of lawsuits claiming its talc-based baby powder causes cancer. The jury in the state of California last week also found in favor of J&J’s talc supplier, Imerys Talc.

In the latest trial, a woman claimed she developed mesothelioma – a deadly form of cancer closely associated with exposure to asbestos – from using J&J’s and other companies’ talc-based products.

 According to reports, this was the first case to allege that talc-based products contain asbestos. Attorneys for the California plaintiff said they had seen internal J&J documents showing the company had been aware of the presence of asbestos in the talc used in its products but continued to sell them.

In welcoming the judgement, J&J said it believes recent setbacks for plaintiffs pursuing ovarian cancer cases have led lawyers specializing in such cases to pursue other claims and “pivot to yet another baseless theory. “ The healthcare company said its baby powder “has been around since 1894 and it does not contain asbestos or cause mesothelioma or ovarian cancer.”

J&J is said to be facing lawsuits by around 5,500 US plaintiffs asserting talc-related claims, with most of them saying t failed to warn about the risk of developing ovarian cancer from the products.

In five cases heard in the state of Missouri involving ovarian cancer claims, juries awarded judgments totaling $307 million, according to the news agency Reuters. Last month, however, October, J&J prevailed in two of the case it appealed.

An appellate court in Missouri appellate court dismissed the state’s first verdict against the company, in which it had been ordered to pay $72 million, and a California judge dismissed a case in which the family of a now-deceased woman had been awarded $417 million.

In a case unrelated to talc, a federal jury has ordered J&J and its DePuy Orthopaedics unit to pay $247 million to six New York patients who claimed they experienced tissue death, bone erosion and other injuries from the implants, due to design flaws.

Here, J&J is facing more than 9,700 lawsuits in state and federal courts across the US. The company it will immediately begin the appeal process.