A lawsuit over the use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer has resulted in an award of more than $70 million as a jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff.
Back in September of 2016, Deborah Giannecchini of Modesto, California accused Johnson and Johnson, the multinational medical devices, pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods manufacturer, of causing her ovarian cancer.
Giannecchini claimed that her illness, which was diagnosed in 2010, was caused by her regular use of the company’s talcum powder over many years.
Talcum powder is used by many consumers as it absorbs moisture and can help prevent rashes and chaffing by cutting down on friction between clothing and skin. For a long time, the product was used by caregivers as a layer between babies skin and wet diapers, but health concerns in recent years have led doctors to advise against its use.
Anyways, coming back to Giannecchini and present times, the news is now out. The cancer victim has been awarded more than $70 million as a jury ruled in her favor recently, in St. Louis.
Why? Scientific studies have suggested a link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. It’s not yet clear conclusively whether products that contain talc cause the disease but the evidence seems to have been enough to argue a convincing case in court.
According to a report on USAtoday.com, two other lawsuits in St. Louis on the same topic ended well for the plaintiffs, with a combined $127 million being awarded after the jury’s verdict.
On the flip side, two cases in New Jersey were thrown by a judge who concluded there wasn’t enough reliable evidence connecting talcum powder with ovarian cancer to go forward in court.
Regardless, the future looks complicated for Johnson and Johnson. The company says it sympathizes with the women and families impacted by ovarian cancer but it will appeal the recent verdict in Giannecchini’s case, as they believe their talc-based baby powder to be “perfectly safe” for regular use.
An article published on Bloomberg.com states that J&J has spent upwards of $55 billion since just 2013 to resolve legal cases brought against the company over its drugs and medical devices.
Now more than 1000 women who have used talcum powder regularly are suing J&J and Imerys, another manufacturer of the popular product. The women and their families are claiming that both companies have known of the association between ovarian cancer and talcum powder use, but failed to inform the public.
USAToday.com states that last February, $72 million was awarded by J & J to the family of a woman from Alabama who died of ovarian cancer, and a further $55 million was handed over in May to a woman who survived her ovarian cancer, but blamed it’s development on J & J.
Most of the world’s talcum powder is mined in China, and Bloomberg.com states that Johnson & Johnson’s comes from the country’s southern province of Guangxi.
The powder can be found in other consumer products that go on the body such as eye shadow and blush.
J & J’s product does contain a warning that it is to be used for external use only but this is basically warning against inhaling the product into the lungs.
Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer and more than 14,000 women die from it each year in the U.S.