J&J ordered to pay cancer patient $155m in talc case

BOSTON • Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a Missouri jury to pay over US$110 million (S$154.6 million) to a Virginia woman who says she developed ovarian cancer after decades of using its talc-based products for feminine hygiene.

The St Louis state court's verdict was the largest so far to come out of about 2,400 lawsuits accusing J&J of not adequately warning consumers about the cancer risks of talc-based products, including its well-known Johnson's Baby Powder.

Many of the lawsuits are pending in St Louis, where J&J has faced four prior trials, three of which resulted in US$197 million verdicts against J&J and a talc supplier.

Thursday's verdict came in a lawsuit against J&J and talc supplier Imerys Talc by Ms Lois Slemp, who is undergoing chemotherapy after her ovarian cancer first diagnosed in 2012 returned and spread to her liver.

Ms Slemp said she developed cancer after four decades of using talc-containing products by J&J.

The jury awarded US$5.4 million in compensatory damages and said J&J was 99 per cent at fault while Imerys was just 1 per cent. It awarded punitive damages of US$105 million against J&J and US$50,000 against Imerys.

J&J in a statement said it sympathised with women impacted by ovarian cancer but planned to appeal.

"We are preparing for additional trials this year and we continue to defend the safety of Johnson's Baby Powder," J&J said.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 06, 2017, with the headline 'J&J ordered to pay cancer patient $155m in talc case'. Print Edition | Subscribe