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Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $110m in US talcum powder cancer lawsuit

A Missouri jury has ordered pharmaceutical firm Johnson & Johnson (J&J) to pay over $110m as compensation to a woman who says she developed ovarian cancer after using the company's talc-based products.

The woman hailing from Virginia had filed a lawsuit against the American healthcare brand in the 2nd Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis, claiming that she got the cancer because of using the J&J products for routine feminine hygiene for nearly 40 years.

Lois Slemp, the plaintiff was awarded compensatory damages of $5.4m along with punitive damages of $105m against J&J. Imerys Talc America which provides the product to J&J has been asked to pay $50,000 by the court.

In the talcum powder litigation trial that ran for three weeks, the plaintiff’s attorneys brought various internal documents of J&J which showed that the company officials were aware of the link between genital talc and ovarian cancer since a long time. Slemp accused J&J of not warning consumers of the potential danger in order to protect its profits from the talcum powder products.

Bernstein Liebhard partner Sandy A Liebhard said: "Our Firm is representing a number of clients who also claim to have developed ovarian cancer following the long-term use of Johnson & Johnson's Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products for feminine hygiene purposes.

“We are extremely pleased with this verdict and will continue to monitor upcoming talcum powder trials for any developments that might affect our clients' cases.”

Three other Missouri talcum powder trials apart from the one involving Slemp have been awarded compensatory and punitive damages totaling up to $70m, $72m and $55m. J&J could only one case so far which was concluded in March.

Image: Johnson & Johnson headquarters in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Photo: courtesy of Ekem at the English Wikipedia project.