17:04 GMT09 May 2021
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    Multinational medical devices, pharmaceutical and consumer goods company, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has been ordered to pay US$417 million to a woman who claimed she had developed ovarian cancer after using one of the company's products.

    Eva Echeverria, who used Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder for feminine hygiene, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Now a Californian jury has ordered the multinational company to pay a record lump sum of US$417 million, alleging that it failed to adequately warn consumers about the risks of talc-based products. 

    The verdict included US$70 million in compensatory damages and US$347 million in punitive damages.

    However, J&J are prepared to fight the decision at court as they say their products are supported by "science."

    "We will appeal today's verdict, because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson's Baby Powder," J&J said in a statement.

    According to Cancer.org, Johnson's Baby Powder contains talc, which is a mineral made up of magnesium, silicon and oxygen.

    "As a powder, it absorbs moisture well and helps cut down on friction, making it useful for keeping skin dry and helping to prevent rashes. It is widely used in cosmetic products such as baby powder and adult body and facial powders, as well as in a number of other consumer products," an online statement from Cancer.org states.

    Cancer.org also said that when looking at whether products containing talc — such as Johnson's Baby Powder — cause cancer, you have to distinguish between talc that contains asbestos and talc that is asbestos-free.

    "Talc that has asbestos is generally accepted as being able to cause cancer if it is inhaled. This type of talc is not used in modern consumer products. The evidence about asbestos-free talc, which is still widely used, is less clear," the Cancer.org says.

    ​The lawyers for Ms. Echeverria said that the New Jersey-based company encouraged women to use the talc products, however, they were also aware of the studies linking ovarian cancer diagnoses and deaths to genital talc use. 

    J&J have hit back saying that scientific studies, as well as the federal agency US Food and Drug Administration, have not found that talc products have the potential to cause cancer.

    Despite J&J's arguments, the jury ruled in favor of Ms. Echeverria, making this the largest sum of money the company will have to pay out to date.

    In February 2016, a Missouri state jury ruled that Johnson & Johnson had to pay US$72 million in damages to the family of an American woman who died of cancer caused by the company's talcum powder.


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    talcum powder, ovarian cancer, consumer, powder, damages, baby, lawsuit, cancer, Johnson & Johnson, US, California
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