For the fourth time, Johnson & Johnson is facing another multimillion dollar lawsuit over talc in their baby powder causing ovarian cancer.
On Thursday, a jury in St. Louis awarded Lois Slemp of Virginia $110.5 million after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer five years ago. She says her illness is due to 40 years of using the company’s talc products.
Other than Slemp’s case, three other St. Louis trials had similar outcomes in the last year. The company says their products are safe and plan on appealing the most recent verdict like they have with the other three.
Johnson & Johnson has also gained some legal success. In March a Tennessee woman with uterine and ovarian cancer was rejected by a jury. And two New Jersey cases were tossed out by a judge saying the lawyers didn’t have reliable evidence proving that talc led to ovarian cancer.
June will be the next baby powder trial in St. Louis, with another in California in July.
What Do Johnson & Johnson Investors Think?
It appears investors aren’t worrying over financial trouble for J&J. However, the company is facing around 2,000 similar lawsuits, and shares fell .62 cents Friday.
The largest maker of health care products in the world, Johnson & Johnson, profits around $72 billion a year selling medical devices, consumer products, and prescription medication.
The company frequently faces lawsuits due to their diversified products, so investors don’t worry when they lose lawsuits because their stock prices rarely drop. The company also continues to fight lawsuits rather than settling.
What Is Talc?
Talc is one of the softest minerals found around the world. Since 1894, talc has been common in cosmetics to absorb moisture. However, it is also common in plastics and paint.
Does Talc Cause Ovarian Cancer?
Similar to most scientific questions, there’s no definite answer. Knowing what causes cancer is hard to find. And it wouldn’t be ethical to ask groups of women to use talcum powder to find out if it does cause ovarian cancer.
Although ovarian cancer is usually fatal, it’s also pretty rare. Of the 1.7 million cancer cases this year, ovarian cancer accounts for only 22,400.
Family history, obesity, age, using estrogen therapy, and not having children are a few factors putting women at risk of ovarian cancer.