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Woman with Cancer Awarded $417 Million from Johnson & Johnson
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Photo courtesy of The Huffington Post.

Summary: A Los Angeles jury awarded a woman $417 million after she claimed Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder gave her ovarian cancer. 

A Los Angeles woman was awarded the largest settlement amount ever from Johnson & Johnson, according to CBS News. Eva Echeverria, an ovarian cancer patient, sued the brand for selling talcum powder that allegedly caused the disease in women who regularly used the product for feminine hygiene.

  
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This is not the first talcum powder case against Johnson & Johnson. In May, a St. Louis jury awarded $110.5 million to another woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012; and there were similar cases in Missouri last year where juries awarded sums of $72 million, $70.1 million, and $55 million.

Echeverria said that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers about the risk of cancer for women who used talcum powder. She said that she splashed Baby Powder on her genitals from the 1950s until 2016 and that she had stopped only after hearing a news story where a woman was diagnosed with cancer after using the product.

Echeverria said that she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007 and that she is still undergoing treatment. According to CNN, she said that she would not have used the talcum powder if there had been a label stating it could cause cancer.

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Echeverria is represented by attorney Mark Robinson, who told CBS News that they hoped the verdict would lead to Johnson & Johnson putting adequate warnings on its products.

“Mrs. Echeverria is dying from this ovarian cancer and she said to me all she wanted to do was to help the other women throughout the whole country who have ovarian cancer for using Johnson & Johnson for 20 and 30 years,” Robinson said.



Echeverria, 63, was awarded $70 million in compensatory damages and $347 million in punitive damages, for a total of $417 million.

Carol Goodrich, a representative from Johnson & Johnson, said that the company plans on appealing the jury’s decision. She said that she sympathizes with women who suffer from cancer but that scientific evidence shows that Johnson’s Baby Powder is safe.

“Ovarian cancer is a devastating diagnosis and we deeply sympathize with the women and families impacted by this disease,” Goodrich said in a statement. “We will appeal today’s verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder. In April, the National Cancer Institute’s Physician Data Query Editorial Board wrote, ‘The weight of evidence does not support an association between perineal talc exposure and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.’ We are preparing for additional trials in the US and we will continue to defend the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”

The American Cancer Society stated that the potential link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer is mixed. Some reports state that there is a risk when women use talcum powder on their genitals and other research supports Johnson & Johnson’s claim.

Before this sum was announced, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay over $300 million in multiple talcum powder cases, and according to CBS News, there are almost 1,000 other cases pending.

What do you think of the jury’s award to Echeverria? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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