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13 July 2018, 08:55 | Melissa Porter
Bottles of Johnson & Johnson baby powder line a drugstore shelf in New York
Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay $4.7bn (£3.6bn) in damages to 22 women who claim the company's baby powder and other talcum powder products caused them to develop ovarian cancer.
A jury in USA decided in favour of the women and ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay up $500 million plus $4.1 billion punitive damages.
The company said its talc does not contain asbestos or cause ovarian cancer, and vowed it would "pursue all available appellate remedies".
Six of the 22 plaintiffs in the trial have died from ovarian cancer.
Mr Lanier said Johnson & Johnson had spent 40 years covering up evidence of asbestos in some of its talcum-based products and should mark those products with warning labels or focus on powders made with cornstarch.
The verdict is the largest trial award by far in a host of suits claiming the company's signature Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products cause cancer.
Asbestos fibers and talc particles were found in the ovarian tissues of numerous women, the plaintiffs said. Lawyers allege asbestos fibers and talc particles had been found in the ovarian tissues of numerous women they represent. The company should pull talc from the market before causing further anguish, harm, and death from a awful disease. However, some talc are contaminated with a form of asbestos called tremolite.
But Johnson & Johnson said in its statement that the trial was "a fundamentally unfair process", noting most of the women were not from Missouri, where the testimonies were heard. Still, they continue to deny any traces of asbestos in their products.
J&J sought to protect the image of Baby Powder as "their sacred cow", he said.
The punitive damages are among the largest ever awarded in a product liability case, he said.
She said the case was overwhelmed with "prejudice" because each plaintiff was awarded the same $25 million "irrespective of their individual facts", according to Bloomberg.
J&J says there is no asbestos in its baby powder and other talc-based products, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted a survey in 2009 and 2010 that seemed to back this up.
A previous ruling in 2017 by a California jury awarded $417m but that was later overturned on appeal. However, there are experts who are still concerned about the safety of talc today, despite new asbestos-free formulas.
The women who sued, whose jobs range from school bus driver to executive director of a job-retraining program, come from states including Pennsylvania, California, Arizona and NY. The trial was "an attempt to use sympathy in pursuit of a big payday from a deep-pockets defendant".
A state trial court jury on Thursday handed up a $4.69 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson.
Johnson & Johnson has faced multiple trials in St. Louis over ovarian-cancer claims, losing four of the first five to go to trial.
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