J&J ordered to pay $72M over carcinogen claims

A civil lawsuit alleged that the company knew its products contained talc and that the ingredient could cause cancer in users. A jury recently awarded damages.

Johnson & Johnson has suffered a major early blow in a series of legal battles over talc.

On Monday night, jurors in St. Louis’ circuit court ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay the family of Jacqueline Fox $72 million. The family’s lawyers and court records report that $10 million was awarded for actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages.

Fox died of ovarian cancer in October—which was linked to her frequent use of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products in her feminine hygiene routine for more than 35 years.

The family accused the company of fraud, negligence and conspiracy, claiming that Johnson & Johnson knew its talc-based products could cause cancer and that it failed to warn consumers.

A lawyer for Fox’s family, Jere Beasley, told reporters that the company “knew as far back as the 1980s of the risk,” but continued “lying to the public, lying to the regulatory agencies.”

The family’s suit—which, The Guardian reported, was part of bigger claim in St. Louis that involved almost 60 people—is far from the only one against Johnson & Johnson.

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