On Monday February 22, 2016, a St. Louis jury found in favor of the family of a woman who died of ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson baby powder for years and awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $62 million in punitive damages. This is the first state-court case over these claims to go to trial. In 2013 a federal jury in North Dakota found that use of talc contributed to a woman developing ovarian cancer, however no damages were awarded in that case.
Researchers first linked talc usage to ovarian cancer in the 1970’s. A Report from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s hospital noted in 1982 that women who used talc in the genital area had a 92 percent increase in their risk of developing ovarian cancer. The American Cancer Society advised in 1999 that women use corn starch based products rather than talc products in the genital area.
Jackie Fox died at the age of 62 of ovarian cancer in 2015 after using Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder for many years for feminine hygiene.
Attorneys for Fox argued that Johnson & Johnson knew of the risk and failed to warn its customers. Internal documents introduced into evidence showed that the company knew of studies connecting talc usage and ovarian cancer but continued to market it, particularly to African-American and Hispanic women. The jury foreman, Krista Smith, said that the company’s internal documents were “decisive” for jurors, who deliberated for four hours before reaching a verdict. She stated, “It was really clear they were hiding something. All they had to do was put a warning label on.” J& J claimed that a warning label would not have stopped Fox from using the product.
Talcum powder is derived from talc, which is a hydrated magnesium silicate. Talc is most popular as baby powder which is generally used to prevent diaper rash in babies. Many women also use talc powder for personal hygiene. Several studies and reports have confirmed that when talc is applied to a woman’s genital area it may travel through the vagina and into the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.
There are currently approximately 1,200 talc ovarian cancer lawsuits pending in state and federal courts.
Showard Law Firm, your local law firm for drug and medical device claims is currently handling talc ovarian cancer claims. If you or a loved one has used talc and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer call today for a free consultation.