Ovarian cancer patient wins $525 million from J&J

talc powder talcum ovarian cancer personal care products feminine hygiene

It is the largest payout so far in a string of lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and its talc-based products

A US jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson (J&J) to pay US$417 million (AU$525 million) to California resident Eva Echeverria, 62, who alleged the company failed to adequately warn consumers about the cancer risks of its talc-based products, such as its Baby Powder.

Ms Echeverria’s lawyers alleged that her ovarian cancer, diagnosed in 2007, was due to J&J’s talcum powder that she had been applying regularly since the 1950s for feminine hygiene purposes.

The verdict includes $70m in compensatory damages and $347m in punitive damages.

According to news sources, J&J faces 4800 similar claims across the US and has been told to pay more than $300m after four other lost trials in Missouri.

In May this year, J&J was ordered by a US jury to pay almost AU$150 million to a woman who claimed the talcum powder caused her ovarian cancer after decades of using of it.

J&J has defended its talc-based products and stated its intention to appeal.

The global pharmaceutical company has argued that studies and federal agencies have not found that talc products are carcinogenic.

“We are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder,” said a spokesperson.

“We are preparing for additional trials in the US and we will continue to defend the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”

Various sources including the Australian Cancer Council state that the current evidence linking talcum powder to ovarian cancer is inconclusive.

However based on a review of the evidence, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified talc as “possibly carcinogenic (cancer causing)” to humans when applied to the genital (perineal) area.

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