J&J pays $70m over cancer allegations

pharmafile | October 28, 2016 | News story | Medical Communications JJohnson & Johnson, ovarian cancer 

Johnson & Johnson has been forced to pay out $70 million after it was alleged that years of using the company’s baby powder led to a woman developing ovarian cancer.

The case began on 26 September, with California resident Deborah Giannecchini accused the company of “negligent conduct” in the production and marketing of its products, leading to her cancer diagnosis in 2012.

“We are pleased the jury did the right thing,” said Jim Onder, an attorney for the plaintiff. “They once again reaffirmed the need for Johnson & Johnson to warn the public of the ovarian cancer risk associated with its product.”

Spokeswoman Carol Goodrich responded in a statement: “We deeply sympathise with the women and families impacted by ovarian cancer. We will appeal today’s verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”

This is not the first time this allegation has been brought against the company; earlier this year, two other lawsuits ended the same way for a combined total payout of around $127 million. Around 2,000 women have also reportedly filed similar reports.

J&J maintains that, based on its research, its product is perfectly safe. Research has failed to find anything more than a weak connection between ovarian cancer and talcum powder use. However, St Louis-based Onder Law, who fought all three of these major cases, has cited other research that claims that women who regularly use talc on their genital area face up to a 40% higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies genital use of talc as “possibly carcinogenic”. J&J previously agreed to omit ingredients which were cited as possibly carcinogenic from all its products by 2015.

Matt Fellows

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