Johnson & Johnson loses $72M in baby powder cancer case

  • Johnson & Johnson loses in a suit and is ordered to pay $72M damages to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer
  • Jacqueline Fox, 62, died in October 2015 because of ovarian cancer linked to her use of Johnson & Johnson baby powder for nearly 50 years
  • The company, on the other hand, disproved the claims that their products contain carcinogenic substances

The company Johnson & Johnson will need to pay $72 million to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer linked to her use of the company’s baby powder.

According to Jacqueline Cutler’s report published on New York Daily News, the verdict on the million lawsuit was issued on Monday, February 22, which argues that the giant cosmetics company was “lying to the public” and “lying to the regulatory agencies” about product safety.

The woman identified as Jacqueline Fox died in October, 2015 at the age of 62. She was reported to have used Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for nearly 50 years.

Photo Credit: NY Daily News
Photo Credit: NY Daily News

The Fox family argued that the company knew about the possible risks of using products with talc but failed to warn consumers about it. Fox’s legal representatives presented a 1997 internal memo from Johnson & Johnson medical consultant which states that “anybody who denies the risks” between “hygienic” talc use and ovarian cancer will be publicly perceived in the same light as those who denied a link between smoking cigarettes and cancer.

The case, wrote Ivana Kottasova and Dani Stewart of CNN, is part of a wider case filed by nearly 50 women against the company.

Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson issued a statement arguing that its products are safe.

Carol Goodrich, spokeswoman of the company, said that they disprove the claims stating: “The recent U.S. verdict goes against decades of sound science proving the safety of talc as a cosmetic ingredient in multiple products, and while we sympathize with the family of the plaintiff, we strongly disagree with the outcome.”

Talc, which is a naturally occurring mineral composed of magnesium, silicon, oxygen and hydrogen, is used to absorb moisture in different kinds of cosmetic products.

Scientists have opposing argument over the potential risks of talc. According to The American Cancer Society, it is not clear if products with talcum powder increase cancer risk. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, on the other hand, pronounces the talc is possibly carcinogenic to humans.