Woman awarded $417 million in Lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson

Record $417 million award in lawsuit linking Johnson & Johnson baby powder to cancer

The lawsuit filed against Johnson & Johnson claimed that the company's talcum powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly to the genital area.

However, other studies about the risks of talcum powder say differently, such as one epidemiologic review conducted by researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center that found, "While mechanistic, pathology, and animal studies do not support evidence for the carcinogenicity of talc on the ovarian epithelium, epidemiological studies have indicated an association with talc use and increased OC [ovarian cancer] risk". But as the American Cancer Society notes, those kinds of studies can be biased because they rely on a person's memory of talc use years after the fact.

Harvard University epidemiologist Daniel Cramer has published several studies, beginning in 1982, that found a link between talc exposure and increased ovarian cancer. But asbestos hasn't been present in talcum powder in the USA since the 1970s.

The trial follows five prior ones in Missouri state court.

Another St. Louis jury in March rejected the claims of a Tennessee woman with ovarian and uterine cancer who blamed talcum powder for her cancers.

Johnson and Johnson has been ordered to shell out $417 million after a court case ruled in favor of California resident, Eva Echeverria.

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Mrs. Echeverria developed ovarian cancer as a "proximate result of the unreasonably unsafe and defective nature of talcum powder", she said in her lawsuit. Previously, the company was hit with lawsuits and forced to pay multiple different cases' amounts ranging from $55 to $110 million. "J&J needs to see they not only have verdicts against them in St Louis, they now also have them in Los Angeles", Robinson said.

To get around the hindsight bias, researchers could track a group of healthy women over a number of years to find out if those that used talcum powder were more likely to develop ovarian cancer.

The company immediately announced it would seek to overturn Monday's verdict, saying science supports the safety of Johnson & Johnson's Baby Powder.

As for Johnson and Johnson, who have over 5,000 cases against them in the pipeline, they plan to appeal.

Echeverria's attorney, Mark Robinson, revealed his client is undergoing cancer treatment while hospitalized and told him she hoped the verdict would lead Johnson & Johnson to put additional warnings on its products.

Bloomberg, which tallies large verdicts and settlements, says that yesterday's jury verdict was the third-largest of 2017.

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