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Johnson & Johnson to Pay $110 Million in Damages for Selling Cancer-Causing Talc

A bottle of Johnson and Johnson Baby Powder is seen in a photo illustration taken in New York, February 24, 2016. Consumers expressed concern on social media about a talc-based baby powder made by Johnson & Johnson on Wednesday after a Missouri jury ordered the company to pay $72 million in damages to the family of a woman who said her death from cancer was linked to use of the product. REUTERS/Mike Segar/Illustration - RTX28FRZ

Cosmetics company Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay US$110 million to a woman who says she developed ovarian cancer after 40 years of using of its talc- based products.

Lois Slemp, who lives in the US state of Virginia, is undergoing chemotherapy after her ovarian cancer, initially diagnosed in 2012, returned and spread to her liver.

Slemp said she developed cancer after four decades of daily use of talc-containing products produced by J & J, specifically the well-known Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower Powder.

Thursday’s verdict in Missouri awarded US$5.4m in compensatory damages and said J & J was 99 per cent at fault, while talc supplier Imerys was one per cent to blame.

But it awarded massive punitive damages of US$105m against J & J and a US$50,000 against Imerys.

There have been thousands of lawsuits filed against the company, the world’s largest health care group, for allegedly ignoring studies that linked its baby powder and Shower to Shower product to ovarian cancer.

J & J failed to warn customers about the risk, lawyers claim.

Late last year, a jury awarded California woman Deborah Giannecchini US$70m in damages for her suit against J & J.

She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012 after years of using baby powder.


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