In another health scare, a Missouri jury ordered Johnson & Johnson (J&J) to pay over $110 million to a Virginia woman who claimed she developed ovarian cancer after using its talc-based products for feminine hygiene after almost 40 years. The plaintiff Lois Slemp, 62, was awarded $5.4 million in compensatory damages and punitive damages of $105 million against Johnson & Johnson and $50,000 against Imerys Talc America, the company which provides the product to J&J.
Slemp who was too ill to attend the trial and is currently undergoing chemotherapy after her ovarian cancer initially diagnosed in 2012 returned and spread to her liver claimed that the talc was contaminated with asbestos. While the company denied the allegations, the jury found both J&J and Imerys guilty. The jury said that the leading American consumer healthcare brand was 99 per cent responsible while Imerys was just 1 per cent at fault.
In a statement, the company’s spokesperson, Carol Goodrich shared that while the company sympathises with women affected by ovarian cancer, it will appeal the verdict and continue to defend the safety of their products.
Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time the brand known for manufacturing consumer products especially for babies has been accused of using carcinogenic ingredients in its talcum powder. In 2016, Deborah Giannecchini was awarded $70 million and Jacqueline Fox received $72 million in damages for their suits against Johnson and Johnson for the same reason. Currently, there are more than 2400 lawsuits pending against the company regarding their products and its associated risk of cancer.