A Los Angeles jury has ordered consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million in damages to a receptionist after she won a lawsuit that linked her ovarian cancer to the baby powder produced by the company and used widely across the world.
Central to this lawsuit were 1971 studies by scientists in Wales, who found particles of talc embedded in ovarian and cervical tumours.
Sixty-three years old Eva Echeverria, who won the lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, is among thousands of women who sued the consumer products giant for causing their disease. Earlier this year, a Missouri jury awarded $110 million to a woman in a similar lawsuit, while last year another woman was awarded $72 million posthumously.
However in March this year, a St. Louis jury rejected a Tennessee woman’s claim that Johnson & Johnson’s powder caused her ovarian cancer.
Echeverria started using Johnson’s baby powder on her perineum at the age of 11 and continued after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007, unaware that some studies had linked talc to cancer, her lawyer was quoted as saying by The New York Times.
A Johnson & Johnson spokesperson said the company would appeal against the verdict in a higher court.
The company also cited a National Cancer Institute report that said, “The weight of evidence does not support an association between perineal talc exposure and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.”