Johnson and Johnson Loses Another Lawsuit

More bad news for the makers of possibly the world’s most recognized baby powder.

In February this year, Johnson and Johnson lost a major lawsuit over claims that using their baby powder for feminine hygiene purposes led to one woman’s death of ovarian cancer.

This week, the pharmaceutical giant lost its second lawsuit over the same claims. A jury has awarded Gloria Ristesund, a 62-year-old South Dakota woman, $55 million dollars in damages related to developing ovarian cancer from using the company’s talcum powder. Ristesund said that she also used Johnson & Johnson’s powder for feminine hygiene for decades and developed ovarian cancer as a result in 2011. Although she is now in remission, she had to undergo a hysterectomy and other surgeries. 

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These cases are just two in more than 1,000 lawsuits out against the company right now for misleading customers and failing to warn them on the potential dangers of using talcum powder as a feminine hygiene product.

“Science has been simple and consistent over the last 40 years: There’s an increased risk of ovarian cancer from genital use of talc,’’ Ristesund’s lawyer told jurers.

According to Bloomberg, Johnson and Johnson had documents that showed the company was aware of potential health concerns as early as the mid-1970's. Another document from 1992 shown to jurors suggested that the company targeting women to boost sales of its talcum powder.

Johnson and Johnson refuted the safety claims, saying in a statement, “Unfortunately, the jury’s decision goes against 30 years of studies by medical experts around the word that continue to support the safety of cosmetic talc,’’ Goodrich said. “Johnson & Johnson has always taken questions about the safety of our products extremely seriously.” The company plans to appeal this verdict as well.

The American Cancer Society recommends using cornstarch-based products instead of talc-based products for feminine hygiene.

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