Plaintiff awarded $417M in Johnson & Johnson baby powder lawsuit

A jury in the Superior Court of Los Angeles County ruled against Johnson & Johnson in a lawsuit associating ovarian cancer to talcum powder, reports The New York Times.

Jurors on Monday ordered the New Brunswick, N.J.-based company to pay Eva Echeverria, 63, $417 million in damages related to the lawsuit. Ms. Echeverria, a medical receptionist, has used Johnson's Baby Powder for more than 50 years and developed ovarian cancer in 2007, according to the report. Ms. Echeverria's attorney, Mark Robinson, told NYT his client continued using the powder until hearing news of litigation against Johnson & Johnson linking talc to cancer; she filed suit against the company soon after.

Johnson & Johnson said in an emailed statement to Becker's Hospital Review the company plans to appeal following the jury's verdict.

"Ovarian cancer is a devastating diagnosis and we deeply sympathize with the women and families impacted by this disease. We will appeal today’s verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder," company spokesperson Carol Goodrich said. She added, "We are preparing for additional trials in the U.S. and we will continue to defend the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder."

Ms. Goodrich specifically referenced verbatim language from the National Cancer Institute’s Physician Data Query Editorial Board on "perenial talc exposure," which states, "The weight of evidence does not support an association between perineal talc exposure and an increased risk of ovarian cancer."

However, the report notes the cancer center was more inconclusive on its website here, saying, "Studies of women who used talcum powder dusted on the perineum ... have not found clear evidence of an increased risk of ovarian cancer."

Ms. Echeverria is not alone, as various other women have sued the consumer goods giant claiming its baby powder caused their cancer. So far, only a handful of suits have gone to trial, but most decisions have been in favor of the plaintiffs, according to the report.


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