Co-authored by Cassidy Carroll of The Collins Law Firm, P.C.
A little over a week ago, the Missouri Circuit Court announced that Johnson & Johnson-the world’s largest maker of health-care products-must pay $72 million to the family of a woman claiming the company’s talcum powder caused her fatal ovarian cancer. For the first time, monetary compensation was awarded in response to Johnson & Johnson’s failure to warn consumers of the cancer-causing potential of its talcum-based products decades ago.
Currently, Johnson & Johnson is facing 1,200 lawsuits claiming that studies on talcum-based products, such as Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products, have shown a link between talcum and ovarian cancer. In 2013, a North Dakota federal jury found that use of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum-based body powder contributed to a woman’s developing ovarian cancer, but awarded no damages.
This case highlights the serious consequences to the American public when companies fail to warn consumers of potentially dangerous substances in their products. Since 1999, the American Cancer Society has recommended that women use cornstarch-based products instead of talcum-based products. Despite the advice of the American Cancer Society, Johnson & Johnson continued to sell and promote the safety of talcum-based products alongside their cornstarch-based products.
With this historic award, hopefully, Johnson & Johnson and other health-care product companies will now think twice before failing to warn consumers of any serious consequences that can affect the health and safety of people using their products.