Johnson & Johnson To Pay $417 Million To Woman Who Claimed Its Baby Powder Gave Her Cancer

The Logical Indian Crew

August 23rd, 2017 / 6:25 PM

Courtesy: Hindustan Times | Image Credit: Reuters, BBC

The California jury on Monday, 21 August, ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $417 million to a hospitalised woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the firm’s iconic baby powder caused her ovarian cancer when regularly applied for feminine hygiene.

As per the report by Hindustan Times, the lawsuit was brought by Eva Echeverria, a 63-year-old woman who said that she started using Johnson’s baby powder on a daily basis when she was 11-years-old and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer ten years ago in 2007.


The judgement

The verdict brought by Eva Echeverria marks the largest sum awarded in a series of talcum powder lawsuit verdicts against Johnson & Johnson in courts around the US.

The woman said in her lawsuit that she developed ovarian cancer as a proximate result of the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder.

Mark Robinson, Echeverria’s lawyer, said that his client is undergoing cancer treatment while hospitalised and told him she hoped the verdict would lead Johnson & Johnson to put additional warnings on its products.

Robinson said, “Mrs Echeverria is dying from this ovarian cancer, and she said to me all she wanted to do was to help the other women throughout the whole country who have ovarian cancer for using Johnson & Johnson for 20 and 30 years.”

He further added, “She really did not want sympathy. She just wanted to get a message out to help these other women.”

Robinson said that the evidence in the case included internal documents from several decades that showed the jury that Johnson & Johnson knew about the risks of talc and ovarian cancer. The jury’s award included $68 million in compensatory damages and $340 million in punitive damages.

A spokeswoman for Johnson & Johnson, Carol Goodrich defended the products’ safety. She said in a statement, “We will appeal today’s verdict because we are guided by the science. The evidence around any link between talc use and cancer is inconclusive.”


Ovarian cancer spotted earlier by blood tests

J&J faces thousands of claims from women who say that they developed ovarian cancer due to using its products to address concerns about vaginal odour and moisture.

The company lost four of five previous cases tried before juries in Missouri, which led to more than $300 million in penalties.

On 22 February 2016, Missouri state jury had ordered the firm to pay a hefty amount of $72 million in damages to the family of an Alabama woman, Jacqueline Fox, who died from ovarian cancer allegedly caused by using their baby powder and other products that contained talc for feminine hygiene for more than 35 years.

In 2011, a 62-year-old woman, Gloria Ristesund, was also diagnosed with ovarian cancer due to using the Johnson & Johnson talc powder. She was awarded the amount of $US55 million by the jury in St. Louis last year. 

More than 1,000 other people have filed similar cases where they won much lower amounts, explaining how juries have wide latitude in awarding monetary damages.

The logical Indian urges the citizens of India to be aware of such personal care products. Knowing about the composition of hygiene products before use is essential.


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