Despite two multi-million-dollar verdicts this year against Johnson & Johnson for its talc products causing ovarian cancer in women who used it for feminine hygiene, the company continues to sell these products without safety warnings.
Johnson & Johnson faces several more decisive trials on the same issue this year and several already scheduled for next year from California to St. Louis to New Jersey.
Clifford Law Offices, a leading mass tort/class action law firm, represents a number of women who have suffered adverse consequences following the longterm use of talc. Johnson & Johnson heavily markets talc despite its executives being aware of health concerns since the 1970's. The company agreed in 2012 to remove all probable carcinogens from all of its products by 2015 when it was revealed that its No More Tears baby shampoo contained the same 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde that is in its talc products. Instead, Johnson & Johnson continues to market its talc products as gentle and natural and safe for daily use.
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Talc lawsuits became frontpage news with the $55 million verdict in May, 2016, on behalf of a South Dakota woman who was found to have ovarian cancer caused by use of talc made by Johnson & Johnson. A second case tried this year involved a 62-year-old Alabama mother who used Shower-to-Shower with talc by Johnson & Johnson. She died of ovarian cancer in 2015. A jury awarded the victim's family $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages meant to punish the corporation for its behavior. There are more than 1,000 known cases pending in courts throughout the United States.
The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 22,280 new diagnoses of ovarian cancer in 2016. Of those women, it is expected that 14,240 will result in death, according to the American Cancer Society. More than 20 studies have confirmed the link of talc to ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer accounts for 3 percent of cancers among women; however, it causes the most deaths of any cancer of the reproductive tract and is the fifth leading cause of cancerrelated deaths among women.
At the trials, experts for the plaintiffs testified that talc causes ovarian cancer because talc is a poorly soluble particulate nature so that the immune system's cells can pick them up and transport them around the body. Women who were part of this year's trials were found to have talc particles in their ovaries.
It also was revealed at these trials that Johnson & Johnson executives discussed how to influence regulatory agencies and keep information from the public about the dangers of talc. In 1997, one of Johnson & Johnson's medical consultants warned the company against denying the obvious dangers of talc and compared the product to the tobacco companies who also first denied a link between smoking and cancer years ago. It also was pointed out that Johnson & Johnson could easily change the talc-based formula to a cornstarchbased product or could add a warning label to its current products.
If you or a loved one think that you have been harmed by the use of a talc product, contact the lawyers at Clifford Law Offices who can determine if you have a viable cause of action against the manufacturer or other potential defendants.