Court Orders Johnson & Johnson Pay Woman Who Developed Ovarian Cancer $417 Million


On Monday, a Los Angeles jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million — $70m in compensatory damages and $347m in punitive damages — to a woman who claimed she developed ovarian cancer from the company’s talcum-based baby powder, CNN reports.

63-year-old Eva Echeverria said she started using Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder when she was 11 years old. Decades later, at the age of 53, she was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer.

Just last year a Missouri court ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $72 million to a woman whose death from ovarian cancer was linked to two of the company’s talc-based products. It was the first case to result in damages against Johnson & Johnson over the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer.

Talc, a naturally occurring clay material that is known as “baby powder” when pulverized, is also used in cosmetics, soap and toothpaste. According to Consumer Safety, the relationship between ovarian tumors and talc is still unclear after 40 years, but the American Cancer Society says, “In its natural form, some talc contains asbestos, a substance known to cause cancers in and around the lungs when inhaled.”

Echeverria’s is the first of hundreds of similar cases against Johnson & Johnson to be held in California, and thousands more are happening across the country.

Following the verdict, Johnson & Johnson told CNN it will begin the appeals process:

Ovarian cancer is a devastating diagnosis and we deeply sympathize with the women and families impacted by this disease,” Carol Goodrich, a representative for Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., said in a statement. “We will appeal today’s verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder. In April, the National Cancer Institute’s Physician Data Query Editorial Board wrote, ‘The weight of evidence does not support an association between perineal talc exposure and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.’ We are preparing for additional trials in the US and we will continue to defend the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.

Thinkstock photo by ThitareeSarmkasat


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Ovarian Cancer

woman sitting on the sofa and thinking

I Was Healthy, and Then I Wasn't Because of Cancer

“For my entire life, I was healthy, until I was not.” – Denny Dequette, “Grey’s Anatomy” I heard this quote last night when I was watching the final episode of season two of “Grey’s Anatomy.” It stuck with me because I can relate in so many ways. In my 24 years of life, I have [...]
Ovarian cancer awareness ribbons

Ovarian Cancer: Turning Up the Volume and Raising Awareness

My goal is to help ovarian cancer raise its voice. Known as the disease that “whispers… so listen,” awareness can literally save lives. Almost everyone has been touched somehow by cancer. We can all think of a handful of common cancer types and what signs or symptoms we’re supposed to look out for. We’re supposed [...]
silhouette portrait of a woman with pink flowers around her head

7 Things I've Learned About Cancer by Age 27

Cancer is one of those things everyone hears about and knows exists, but assumes will never happen to them or their loved ones. Growing up, I was the type of person who was very far removed from cancer. I was lucky. Nowadays, approximately 21.1 million adults have been diagnosed with cancer at one time or [...]

Being Diagnosed With Ovarian Cancer Before My 28th Birthday

I remember as if it was yesterday, heading to bed after a long day of work, having what I thought was my typical bad PMS acting up again. I checked my calendar and my “Period Tracker” app, only to discover I still had a week and a half to go. Needless to say, I found [...]