Jury Orders Johnson & Johnson to Pay $72 Million over Ovarian Cancer Talc Death
By John Cooper, Virginia Dangerous Products Attorney
We have heard a lot in recent years about an alleged link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer in women who use it.
It’s all very well for lawyers to talk about the link between products and disease or injury but it becomes a lot more real when juries start awarding verdicts.
Last month, a jury ordered the health conglomerate, Johnson & Johnson to pay $72 million in damages to the family of an Alabama woman who died from ovarian cancer that was allegedly caused by her use of the company’s Baby Powder and other products containing talc for feminine hygiene.
The jury in St. Louis awarded the family of Jackie Fox, $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages.
Ms. Fox from Birmingham in Alabama joined dozens of women in a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, for the company’s alleged failure to inform women about the dangers of talc. Tragically, she lost her life to ovarian cancer.
A recent report in USA Today suggested Johnson & Johnson may have known about the potential risks decades ago.
A memo from 1997 from a company medical consultant said that "anybody who denies” the risk of using hygienic talc and ovarian cancer is "denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary,” Associated Press reported.
However, USA Today report quoted Eva Chalas, chief of Gynecologic Oncology and Director of Clinical Cancer Services at Winthrop-University Hospital, who said it was hard to directly link ovarian cancer to talcum powder.
Chalas said concerns had been raised by doctors years ago when they saw talc in the tissue of women who were diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Studies related to the link between talc and ovarian cancer, have produced mixed results.
In the wake of the verdict, Johnson & Johnson said it is supporting the talc used in all “global products” and the company is evaluating its legal options.
However, the latest verdict does not bode well for the company that is facing a further 1,200 lawsuits from women who claim the use of talc led to ovarian cancer.
The recent lawsuit has led to increased publicity about the potential danger of talc. Writing in the New York Daily News, Dr. David Samadi, stated: “More recent scientific studies continue to confirm a trend that links the use of this powder to the most common type of ovarian cancer, epithelial ovarian cancer.”
While the use of talcum powder might cause only a “small-to-moderate-increase in the risk for ovarian cancer, Samadi said it is a risk women can avoid.
If you have been harmed by talc or any other dangerous product, call our Virginia Injury lawyers today at (757) 455-0077 for a free consultation.