Even baby powders are not safe anymore.
A court in St. Louis, United States, has asked Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) to pay $70 million over their talcum powder link with cancer. The accusation was that Johnson & Johnson had issued no warning to the public at large that their shower-to-shower talc and baby powder products can cause cancer, in spite of knowing very well that this could happen.
This is the third straight trial loss for the business. Johnson & Johnson have already paid two compensations of $55 million and $72 million in the earlier trial losses. More than the financial losses, it was a severe PR crisis for the New Jersey-based American business. But it could just be the beginning, as there are 1,700 pending lawsuits in different federal and state courts against the company.
In another trial in 2013, the jury had sided with a woman from South Dakota. But no damages were awarded that time.
The Cost of Using Johnson & Johnson Powder
62-year-old Deborah Giannecchini of California used their talcum powder for close to four decades till three years back when she was diagnosed having ovarian cancer. Lawyers representing her stated in the court that it is 80 percent likely that Deborah will die in the next two years, in spite of having chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.
Her lawyer informed the court that Johnson & Johnson was aware that their product can cause cancer, and had also “developed a defense strategy to prevent government regulation of its products”.
After hearing all the arguments and looking at the documents, the court agreed that there was indeed a connection between the powder and cancer, and asked Johnson & Johnson to pay $65 million towards punitive damages and a further $2.5 million towards her medical expenses and for the suffering, she had to go through.
Imerys Talc America that had supplied the talc was asked to pay $2.5 million as well. This is the first time Imerys has also been held liable.
It was a jury verdict. One juror said, “It seemed like Johnson & Johnson didn’t pay attention. It seemed like they didn’t care”. There should have been a warning label on the containers, he says.
Johnson & Johnson Denies All Charges
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) has denied all the charges leveled against them. Carol Goodrich, the spokeswoman says they are going to appeal against the verdict. She said, “We are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder”.