A US court has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay US$417 million to a woman who claimed she developed ovarian cancer after using the company’s talc-based products like Johnson’s Baby Powder for feminine hygiene, Reuters reports.
The verdict by a Los Angeles Superior Court jury on Monday in favor of California resident Eva Echeverria was the largest yet in lawsuits alleging J&J failed to adequately warn consumers about the cancer risks of its talc-based products, the report said.
The ruling, which featured US$70 million in compensatory damages and US$347 million in punitive damages, marked a major setback for J&J, which faces 4,800 similar claims nationally.
“We will appeal today’s verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder,” J&J said after the jury verdict.
Echeverria’s lawsuit was the first out of hundreds of California talc cases to go to trial.
The 63-year-old claimed she developed terminal ovarian cancer after decades of using J&J’s products.
Her lawyers argued J&J encouraged women to use its products despite knowing of studies linking ovarian cancer to genital talc use.
J&J’s lawyers countered that studies and federal agencies have not found that talc products are carcinogenic.
The trial follows five prior ones in Missouri state court, where many lawsuits are pending.
J&J lost four of those trials and, along with a talc supplier, has been hit with US$307 million in verdicts. Before Monday, the largest verdict was for US$110 million, the report noted.
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