Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay US$417 million in cancer lawsuit

Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay US$417 million in cancer lawsuit
PHOTO: Reuters

LOS ANGELES - A California jury on Monday (Aug 21) ordered drugmaker Johnson & Johnson to pay US$417 million (S$568 million) to a woman who claimed she developed terminal ovarian cancer after using the company's talc-based products.

The case was one of thousands of lawsuits brought nationwide alleging the company failed to warn consumers of the risk of cancer from talc in its products.

The jury made the award, which included US$347 million in punitive damages, to Eva Echeverria after she filed suit in July of last year, a representative of the Los Angeles Superior Court told AFP.

Also read: Is there a link between talc products and cancer?

Echeverria, 63, developed the disease after decades of using Johnson & Johnson talc-based powders for feminine hygiene, according to media accounts.

In a statement, Johnson & Johnson said it would lodge an appeal.

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

She cited the editorial board of the National Cancer Institute's Physician Data Query, which wrote in April that the "weight of evidence does not support" the existence of a link between ovarian cancer and exposure of the genital region to talc.

So far, juries in St. Louis, Missouri have also awarded damages against Johnson & Johnson totaling more than US$307 million in similar talc cases.

Also read: Johnson & Johnson must pay $101 million for cancer death linked to talcum powder

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