Thursday, 21 March, 2019


Baby Powder From Decades Ago Caused Cancer, California Jury Finds

California jury orders J&J to pay US$29 million in latest talc cancer trial Woman awarded $29m in damages in Johnson & Johnson cancer case
Conrad Doyle | 16 March, 2019, 02:10

A jury in California determined that Johnson & Johnson baby powder was a "substantial contributing factor" to Teresa Leavitt's mesothelioma, and awarded her $29 million.

In a statement, the company said it was disappointed in the verdict, and planned to appeal "because Johnson's Baby Powder does not contain asbestos or cause cancer". Also a year ago, a Missouri jury awarded $4.69 billion to 22 women who all said they got cancer after using the baby powder.

The New Jersey-based company is likely to appeal the verdict, which was made in California Superior Court in Oakland.

Leavitt was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2017 after using Johnson & Johnson's Baby Powder and Shower to Shower during the 1960s and 1970s.

The company also noted that multiple cases have been decided in favor of J&J, or been declared mistrials.

The woman had alleged that traces of asbestos in J&J's products such as Johnson's baby powder led to her contracting mesothelioma, a form of cancer that affects the lungs and heart.

This lawsuit is one of over 13,000 that Johnson & Johnson is now facing over its talc baby powder. In December a year ago, the company reiterated the safety of its products as a slew of drug regulators around the world such as the US FDA and India's Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) analysed samples of J&J products.

J&J said it would appeal, pointing to "serious procedural and evidentiary errors", Reuters reported. Cypress Mines, one of J&J's former talc suppliers, is answerable for the remaining 2 percent.

Leavitt's is the first case to go to trial since a December Reuters report based on internal documents confirmed Johnson & Johnson was aware the talc in its products sometimes contained asbestos from the 1970s up until the early 2000s, but failed to inform consumers or regulators of that fact. Judge Brad Seligman, who oversaw the trial, told jurors in February the company was no longer part of the case after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection under the weight of the talc litigation, which stayed lawsuits against it.

Almost 14,000 cases involving people who believe that J&J's talc powder caused their cancer are making their way through the US legal system.

While asbestos is classified as a known carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and other groups, the ACS says the science on whether talcum powder causes cancer is more ambiguous.

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