Johnson & Johnson has just been hit with a huge judgment, ordered to pay $417 million after 63-year-old Eva Echeverria developed terminal ovarian cancer after she says she used the company’s baby powder every day since she was a child. The baby powder is formulated with talc powder, which has bene linked with ovarian cancer in the past.
The Los Angeles Superior Court jury sided with Echeverria in the largest lawsuit yet claiming the J&J had not warned consumers about the risks of using talc-based products. Included in the verdict was $70 million in compensatory damages to go along with the $347 million in punitive damages, and it’s not over yet for J&J, which faces 4,800 other claims nationwide and has been ordered to pay out more than $300 million in Missouri.
Escheverria’s lawyers claim that J&J encouraged women to continue to use talc-based products despite knowing of their risks, while lawyers for J&J said that studies and federal agencies haven’t determined talc products to be cancer causing.
“Another type of study looks at cancer rates in different groups of people,” states the American Cancer Society on their website. “Such a study might compare the cancer rate in a group exposed to a substance to the rate in a group not exposed to it, or compare it to what the expected cancer rate would be in the general population. But sometimes it can be hard to know what the results of these studies mean, because many other factors might affect the results. In most cases neither type of study provides enough evidence on its own, so researchers usually look at both lab-based and human and studies when trying to figure out if something causes cancer.”