A United State jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) to pay 55 million dollars to a woman who said that using the company’s talc-powder products for feminine hygiene caused her to develop ovarian cancer.
A prosecutor said on Tuesday in Jefferson City that the verdict, which J&J planned to appeal, was the second straight trial loss for the company.
He said the company is facing not less than 1,200 lawsuits accusing it of not adequately warning consumers about its talc-based products of cancer risks.
He said following a three-week trial in Jefferson City, Missouri state court, jurors deliberated for about a day before returning a verdict for Gloria Ristesund.
“She is awarded 5 million dollars in compensatory damages and 50 million dollars in punitive damages.’’
The prosecutor said the verdict followed a 72 million dollars jury award, from the same court in February, to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer after years of using talc powder for feminine hygiene.
Meanwhile, J&J Spokeswoman, Carol Goodrich, said the verdict contradicted 30 years of research supporting the safety of cosmetic talc.
“The company intends to appeal and will keep defending its products’ safety.’’
The complainant, Ristesund, said she used J&J’s talc-based powder products which include the well-known Baby Powder and Shower to Shower Powder on her genitals for decades.
According to her lawyers, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had to undergo a hysterectomy and related surgeries.
“Her cancer is now in remission.’’
Plaintiffs in talc litigation, which is concentrated in Missouri and New Jersey state courts, have accused J&J of failing for years to warn that talc was linked to an increased risk for ovarian cancer.
J&J, however, said it acted properly in developing and marketing the products.
A report noted that the verdict has sparked renewed interest in talc-powder lawsuits among plaintiffs’ lawyers, as well as consumers familiar with J&J’s powder products.
It added that scientists disclosed that the evidence of a real danger is inconclusive.
The report noted that J&J shares were down 18 cents in after-hours trading to 112.57, dollars. (Reuters/NAN)