In May of 2017 a Missouri jury awarded $110 million to a plaintiff who claimed she developed ovarian cancer after prolonged use of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder. The verdict was one of five decisions against Johnson & Johnson. The jury’s verdict was appealed by the defense who argued that the award should be thrown out due to a lack of jurisdiction in the state of Missouri. However, in late November, a Missouri judge ruled against Johnson & Johnson once again and upheld the $110 million verdict.
Earlier this year, in Bristol -Myers Squibb v The Superior Court of California, a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court created more stringent parameters on where a plaintiff can sue a pharmaceutical company. The defense counsel for J&J used this ruling to appeal the $110 M verdict against their client. The court considered the appeal but subsequently ruled that jurisdiction exists. The judge based that decision on the fact that while J&J is not incorporated or headquartered in Missouri, they do have a Missouri-based company (named PharmaTech), that plays a significant role in the packaging, labeling and distribution of Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products.
The plaintiff in this case, and in over 3,500 other cases filed against J&J, claims the company knew of the ovarian cancer risks of talc powder yet continued to manufacture, market and profit from their talc-based products. These claims are based on scientific studies showing that when talc particles enter a woman’s body through the vagina, they can cause inflammation in the pelvic area, and this inflammation can increase the risk of developing endometrial cancer. Talc particles can survive in the tissue in the peritoneal cavity for an estimated eight years before dissolving. The National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society International Agency for Research on Cancer have all pointed to talcum powder as a risk factor for ovarian cancer in women when used on or near the genital area.
Women who have routinely used Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower to Shower for intimate personal hygiene may have unwittingly been put at risk of developing ovarian cancer. If you or a family member believe that talcum-based products may have led to ovarian cancer or ovarian tumors, contact Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC. Brett is an attorney devoted to making pharmaceutical companies put patient safety ahead of corporate profits. Email Brett using the form on this website, or you can call (502)242-8877 to arrange a free consultation on your potential case.