In yet another blow to Johnson & Johnson (J&J) a jury has just awarded $29.4 million to a previous J&J consumer. The woman regularly used two J&J products in the 1960s and ’70s containing talc. In 2017, she was diagnosed with mesothelioma — a kind of cancer linked to asbestos exposure. The Johnson & Johnson talc-based products, the plaintiff argued, contained asbestos. The jury found that J&J talc-based products were in fact defective and caused the plaintiff’s mesothelioma, and that the company had failed to warn consumers about the risks.
J&J denies that its talc powder contains asbestos or is responsible for health problems. J&J said it would appeal the verdict.
J&J knew the risks with their talc-based products
In December 2018, documents came to light showing J&J worried for decades that its baby powder might be laced with small amounts of asbestos, which can occur naturally underground near talc. A company executive in the 1970s warned that J&J’s talc mines might not be free of asbestos. Some of its talc products sometimes contained materials that “might be classified as asbestos powder,” the New York Times reported, quoting an internal company memo…
Many more lawsuits await J&J
All told, the pharmaceutical company faces more than 13,000 talc-related lawsuits nationwide, Reuters reports.
Last year 22 women were awarded $4.7 billion after they sued J&J, alleging they developed ovarian cancer because of the company’s products. More than $4 billion of the jury award consisted of punitive damages, which are meant to punish a defendant for wrongdoing. J&J failed in December to convince a judge to throw out that verdict but told The Times it would appeal that decision.