Court Orders Johnson & Johnson to Pay $72 Million for Link Between Ovarian Cancer and Talc Powder
On Monday, a Missouri state jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $72 million of damages to the family of a woman whose death from ovarian cancer was linked to her use of two of the company’s talc-based products, Reuters reports.
Jacqueline Fox, who lived in Tarrant, Alabama, said she used Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for feminine hygiene for more than 35 years before being diagnosed with cancer almost three years ago. She was 62 years old when she died on Oct. 6.
This marks the first case to result in damages against Johnson & Johnson over the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, according to AL.com. Fox was one of 60 women to sue the company after her ovarian cancer diagnosis. Her case was the first to come to trial in that group. The St. Louis Circuit Court awarded Fox’s family $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages.
Jerome Kendrick, a 50-year-old juror who voted in favor of Fox, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Johnson & Johnson’s internal memos “pretty much sealed” his opinion.
“They tried to cover up and influence the boards that regulate cosmetics,” he told the outlet. “They could have at least put a warning label on the box but they didn’t. They did nothing.”
Following the verdict, Johnson & Johnson released the following statement to AL.com:
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.
Update: On October 26, 2016, a third jury awarded a California woman 70 million in her ovarian cancer lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson.