Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $4.7B in ovarian cancer suit

Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $4.7B in ovarian cancer suit
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Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay $4.7 billion to 22 women who claimed the company's baby powder caused ovarian cancer.

It's the largest ever verdict against Johnson & Johnson. 

The women claimed their ovarian cancer was caused by exposure to asbestos allegedly found in the baby powder.

The verdict was reached by a St. Louis jury Thursday evening after eight hours of deliberations.

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The plaintiff's lawyers said asbestos fibers were found in the ovarian tissues of many of the women and introduced evidence that explained how asbestos is intermingled with the mineral talc — the primary ingredient in Johnson's "Baby Powder" and "Shower to Shower" products.

The microscopic asbestos fibers enter the body when talcum powder is inhaled or applied to the genital area, medical experts said during the trial. 

“For over 40 years, Johnson & Johnson has covered up the evidence of asbestos in their products,” said Mark Lanier, lead trial counsel for the plaintiffs.

“We hope this verdict will get the attention of the J&J board and that it will lead them to better inform the medical community and the public about the connection between asbestos, talc, and ovarian cancer. The company should pull talc from the market before causing further anguish, harm, and death from a terrible disease. J&J sells the same powders in a marvelously safe corn starch variety. If J&J insists on continuing to sell talc, they should mark it with a serious warning.”

Johnson & Johnson vehemently denies that their product is unsafe and vowed to appeal the verdict. 

"Johnson & Johnson is deeply disappointed in the verdict, which was the product of a fundamentally unfair process. Every verdict against Johnson & Johnson in this court that has gone through the appeals process has been reversed and the multiple errors present in this trial were worse than those in the prior trials which have been reversed."

The company is being sued by more than 9,000 women who claim the powder caused their ovarian cancer.