Tuesday, February 23, 2016

J&J must pay $72 million for cancer death linked to talcum powder By Jonathan Stempel

Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a Missouri state jury to pay $72 million of damages to the family of a woman whose death from ovarian cancer was linked to her use of the company's talc-based Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for several decades. In a verdict announced late Monday night, jurors in the circuit court of St. Louis awarded the family of Jacqueline Fox $10 million of actual damages and $62 million of punitive damages, according to the family's lawyers and court records. The verdict is the first by a U.S. jury to award damages over the claims, the lawyers said. Johnson & Johnson faces several hundred lawsuits claiming that it, in an effort to boost sales, failed for decades to warn consumers that its talc-based products could cause cancer. Fox, who lived in Birmingham, Alabama, claimed she used Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for feminine hygiene for more than 35 years before being diagnosed three years ago with ovarian cancer. She died in October at age 62. Jurors found Johnson & Johnson liable for fraud, negligence and conspiracy, the family's lawyers said. Deliberations lasted four hours, following a three-week trial. Jere Beasley, a lawyer for Fox's family, said Johnson & Johnson "knew as far back as the 1980s of the risk," and yet resorted to "lying to the public, lying to the regulatory agencies." He spoke on a conference call with journalists.
Carol Goodrich, a Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman, said: "We have no higher responsibility than the health and safety of consumers, and we are disappointed with the outcome of the trial. We sympathize with the plaintiff's family but firmly believe the safety of cosmetic talc is supported by decades of scientific evidence." In October 2013, a federal jury in Sioux Falls, South Dakota found that plaintiff Deane Berg's use of Johnson & Johnson's body powder products was a factor in her developing ovarian cancer. Nevertheless, it awarded no damages, court records show. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (VRX.TO) now owns the Shower to Shower brand but was not a defendant in the Fox case. Reuters and MSN

Op-Ed. I would never use Baby Powder. There's been articles of warnings and also knowing some chemistry, it's not healthy. Wonder if Johnson & Johnson will take the product off market. Would other corporations follow suit ? It's a shocking outcome for Jacqueline Fox to have died from ovarian cancer directly linked to her use of baby powder. And what about cornstarch in general ? We use cornstarch for preparing gravies and puddings, for example. Would it be a matter of quantities ? What will the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decide regarding baby powder and what would the FDA say about the consumption of cornstarch in foods ?
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By Ivana Kottasova. Talc is a naturally occurring mineral composed of magnesium, silicon, oxygen, and hydrogen. It's used to absorb moisture in many kinds of cosmetic products, from baby powder to make up. The American Cancer Society says it is not clear if products containing talcum powder increase cancer risk. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, classifies talc as "possibly carcinogenic to humans." Because products containing talcum powder are classified as cosmetics, they do not have to undergo review by the Food and Drug Administration. However, they must be properly labeled and "they must be safe for use by consumers under labeled or customary conditions of use," the FDA states. CNN