Twenty-two women who claimed the asbestos in Johnson & Johnson talcum powder contributed to their ovarian cancer finally got their justice in court Thursday. They won almost $4.7 billion in damages.
Mark Lanier, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said Johnson & Johnson hid evidence of asbestos in their products for over 40 years. Medical experts testified that asbestos is mixed with mineral talc, a main ingredient in the company’s baby powder and shower to shower products. According to the plaintiffs’ lawyers, asbestos fibers and talc particles were discovered in the ovarian tissues of many of the women.
Six of the 22 women in the trial have died from ovarian cancer. One of the plaintiffs, Gail Ingham, said that she was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer in 1985 and had chemotherapy treatments and surgeries for a year. She was finally cancer free in the early 1990s. She said she used Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder for years and joined the lawsuit to help raise awareness of the danger of the product.
“We hope this verdict will get the attention of the J&J board and that it will lead them to better inform the medical community and the public about the connection between asbestos, talc, and ovarian cancer,” Lanier said. “The company should pull talc from the market before causing further anguish, harm, and death from a terrible disease.”
Johnson & Johnson said the verdict was unfair because the plaintiffs were allowed to sue the company in Missouri even though most of them didn’t live in the state. The company said they plan to appeal.
“Johnson & Johnson remains confident that its products do not contain asbestos and do not cause ovarian cancer and intends to pursue all available appellate remedies,” spokeswoman Carol Goodrich said.