Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $417M in lawsuit linking baby powder to ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer victim wins $417m payout from Johnson & Johnson

A jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson (J&J) to pay $417m (£323m) to a woman who claimed she developed ovarian cancer after using the company’s talc-based products such as Johnson’s Baby Powder for feminine hygiene.

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The verdict in favour of California resident Eva Echeverria was the largest yet in lawsuits alleging J&J failed to warn consumers adequately about the cancer risks of its talc-based products.

“We are grateful for the jury’s verdict on this matter and that Eva Echeverria was able to have her day in court,” said Mark Robinson, her lawyer, in a statement.

The verdict by the Los Angeles superior court included $70m in compensatory damages and $347m in punitive damages. J&J faces 4,800 similar claims nationally and has been told to pay more than $300m after verdicts by juries in Missouri.

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“We will appeal today’s verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s baby powder,” J&J said.

Echeverria’s lawsuit was the first out of hundreds of California talc cases to go to trial. The 63-year-old claimed she developed terminal ovarian cancer after decades of using J&J’s products. Her lawyers argued J&J encouraged women to use its products despite knowing of studies linking ovarian cancer to genital talc use.

J&J’s lawyers countered that studies and federal agencies have not found that talc products are carcinogenic.

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The trial follows five in the Missouri state court, where many more are pending. J&J lost four of those trials and, along with a talc supplier, has been hit with $307m in payouts as a result of the verdicts.

Before Monday the largest verdict ordered it to pay $110m.

[Read full: TheGuardian]
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