Johnson&Johnson has been ordered by a Missouri jury to pay $72m to a woman who died of ovarian cancer which she claimed was as a result of her use of the company’s talcum powder. The jury said that Fox was entitled to $10m in actual damages and $62m in punitive damages.
The woman, Jackie Fox who lived in Birmingham, Alabama said she used the brand’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for feminine hygiene for as long as 35 years. She was diagnosed three years ago with Ovarian cancer, and eventually passed away in October 2015 at age 62.
Although Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc now owns the Shower to Shower brand, it was not a defendant in the Fox case. The Jurors of the case found Johnson&Johnson guilty of the charges, and accountable for fraud, negligence and conspiracy. The company is believed to have known about the negative effects of their talcum powder, yet failed to do anything to avail the problem.
Talc is a natural mineral that’s mined from the soil. It composes of magnesium, silicon, oxygen, and hydrogen. It is used in a range of cosmetic products, especially Talcum powder as it absorbs moisture, prevents caking and improves the feel of the powder.
A lawyer of Fox’s family, Jere Beasley said Johnson&Johnson “knew as far back as the 1980s of the risk,” but kept “lying to the public, lying to the regulatory agencies,” he said on a conference call with journalists.
This isn’t the first time Johnson&Johnson has come under negative judgement. In 2009, the company was targeted by a joint group called the Campaign For Safe Cosmetics. The coalition urged Johnson&Johnson to get rid of some problematic ingredients in some of its products which could cause cancer, even in its baby care products. The company eventually got rid of the carcinogenic ingredients; 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde after three long years of petitions and being in a bad limelight.
Johnson&Johnson spokeswoman Carol Goodrich said “We have no higher responsibility than the health and safety of consumers, and we are disappointed with the outcome of the trial. We sympathize with the plaintiff’s family but firmly believe the safety of cosmetic talc is supported by decades of scientific evidence.”
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