Jury Awards Woman $110.5M In Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Lawsuit

More than a year after a Missouri jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $72 million to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer linked to the company’s talcum-based products, another jury in the state awarded a Virginia woman a record-setting $110.5 million in a similar lawsuit. 

Thursday’s jury ruling is the fourth in a string of cases involving allegations that Johnson & Johnson ignored a possible link between cancer and its talcum-based products.

The most recent case, the Associated Press reports, involves 62-year-old Lois Slemp, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012.

According to the lawsuit, the woman claims her illness was caused by more than 40 years of using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products, including baby powder. She alleges that Johnson & Johnson concealed the possibility that its baby powder and other talcum-based products could cause cancer.

The woman’s lawyers cited much of the same research used in previous cases. The studies showed that woman who used the products had a greater risk of being diagnosed with cancer.

Studies going back to 1971 have suggested this link exists. In fact, at least one lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson cites a 1982 study on the issue that found a 92% increased risk in ovarian cancer with women who used talc-based products around their genitals, the researcher behind that study directly advised a J&J doctor to place a warning label on their products.

Johnson & Johnson and other companies have continued to defend the use of talcum powder in feminine hygiene products; however, the condom industry halted the mineral’s use in the mid-1990s amid the growing concerns about its link to ovarian cancer risk.

Johnson & Johnson tells the AP that it will appeal the $110.5 million verdict, noting that it disputed the scientific evidence behind the case.

The company has previously appealed three cases, including the $72 million verdict handed down last year. Those cases remain under appeal.

Thursday’s case is just one of around 1,200 cases currently being pursued against J&J in courts in Missouri and New Jersey.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.