J&J ordered to pay $154 million to woman for causing cancer

A Johnson & Johnson building is shown in Irvine California

A Johnson & Johnson building is shown in Irvine California U.S

The company faces trial in another talc claim in St Louis city court next month, brought by the family of a competitive figure skater who died of ovarian cancer.

Johnson & Johnson said it would appeal the verdict. She used Johnson & Johnson's talcum-containing products for more than 40 years, per court documents.

Johnson & Johnson has been hit with a multimillion-dollar jury verdict for the fourth time over whether the talc in its iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene. St Louis plaintiff Lois Slemp, 62, said she used J&J's baby powder and Shower to Shower talc products for more than 40 years before her diagnosis with ovarian cancer in 2012.

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Three previous St. Louis juries awarded a total of nearly $200 million to plaintiffs who made similar claims; those cases are under appeal. The company says its product is safe, and it plans to appeal the latest verdict, as it has the other three.

An attorney for the plaintiff told jurors that J&J didn't warn women of studies linking talc to ovarian cancer to protect the company's image. The company disputes the evidence behind the plaintiffs' allegations. More than 1,000 of these lawsuits have been filed in St. Louis. The Missouri case is one of the cases where J&J lost and has paid up a total of over $300 million in settlements since 2016.

J&J's stock barely budged in pre-market trading in the U.S. on Friday, falling 0.1 per cent to US$123.87.

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Talcum powder is made from the mineral talc, that is made up of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. However, asbestos has been removed from talc used for cosmetic products since the 1970s and studies that link asbestos-free talc to ovarian cancer are inconclusive. "There was no consistent evidence to prove that the more you use talc, the greater your risk of ovarian cancer", the organization explains [PDF].

She claimed that the J&J talcum powder was responsible with the disease, as she has been using it for a big part of her life. "We are preparing for additional trials this year and will continue to defend the safety of Johnson's Baby Powder, " said said Carol Goodrich, a spokeswoman for J&J. An analysis of two huge, long-running US studies, the Women's Health Initiative and the Nurses' Health Study, showed no increased risk of ovarian cancer in talc users.

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