14 April 2016

Johnson & Johnson Products Have High Cancer Risks

Johnson & Johnson
It will be recalled that a few months ago, the family of Jacqueline Fox sued Johnson & Johnson after the Alabama woman died of ovarian cancer that she developed from using the company’s baby powder and body powder products. Last 4 April, a jury in St. Louis awarded the family US$ 72 million in damages. This is the first verdict in more than 1,000 national cases linked to these products.

According to the suit, Fox developed terminal ovarian cancer after 35 years of using the company’s talc-based products for feminine hygiene. A pathologist found that the talc had inflamed Fox's ovaries, which then developed into cancer.

Jere Beasley, a lawyer for Fox’s family, says that Johnson & Johnson has known for decades, since the 1980s, about the risk of talc-based products causing cancer, yet had lied to the public and regulatory agencies in an effort to boost sales.

The company issued a statement to Reuters after the verdict: "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."

According to the American Cancer Society, the link between applying talcum powder regularly as a feminine hygiene product and an increased risk of ovarian cancer is a known concern. Study results thus far have been mixed, and the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies that type of use of talc-based body powder as "possibly carcinogenic to humans."

To be safe, the American Cancer Society suggests using cornstarch-based products instead because "there is no evidence at this time linking cornstarch powders with any form of cancer."

Following the verdict, more than 1,000 women are suing the company as well as their supplier Imerys Talc America over covering up the risks of ovarian cancer linked to use of their baby powder. The next trial is set to being on 11 April in St. Louis.

According to Bloomberg, Johnson & Johnson has spent more than US$ 5 billion since 2013 to resolve legal claims against its products.