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$4.7bn payout to women over talc ovarian cancer link

TALC TRIAL: Johnson & Johnson denies its talc products cause cancer

JOHNSON & JOHNSON have been ordered to pay $4.69 billion (£3.57 billion) in damages to 22 women who sued the company for allegedly selling talc products that caused them to develop cancer.

The lawsuit brought by the women and their families accuses the US pharmaceutical company of selling products that contained asbestos.

The ruling is the latest of a number of suits brought against the talc powder producers.

A jury in St Louis, Missouri passed a verdict in favour of the women following a six-week trial and an eight-hour deliberation, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Mark Lanier, said.

The women and their families claim that using the talc for personal hygiene purposes had caused them to suffer ovarian cancer.

Lanier said: “"For over 40 years, Johnson & Johnson has covered up the evidence of asbestos in their products.”

He added: "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 also called for the product to be removed from the market.

Johnson & Johnson denies that its talc contains asbestos or causes ovarian cancer and said that it was “deeply disappointed in the verdict”.

A number of similar cases have been brought against company.

An African-American woman who was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in 2013 was the first plaintiff to be awarded damages from Johnson & Johnson on the grounds that the company had failed to label its products with warnings despite being aware of the possible cancer risks since 1979.

Jacqueline Fox had sprinkled the talc powder on her underwear before she put them on every morning for almost 40 years. As a result of the jury ruling in favour of Fox, Johnson & Johnson wered ordered to pay her family $72 million (£55 million).

Fox died before the verdict was reached.

Earlier this month, a court ruled to reverse the damages ruling.

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