The family of a Missouri woman who died from ovarian cancer is being awarded $72 million from Johnson and Johnson. The family blamed the company’s talcum powder for causing the cancer. Jackie Fox had used Johnson’s baby powder and another talc-based product for years. This was one of about 1,200 suits claiming studies have linked Johnson’s Baby Powder and it’s Shower-to Shower product to ovarian cancer.
J&J marketed their product for feminine hygiene for decades, even after the American Cancer Society advised in 1999 that women use cornstarch-based products in the genital area instead of talcum powder. It was the jury’s determination that the company knew for a long time that its talc-based products could cause cancer, yet they didn’t warn consumers at all.
Jurors awarded $72 million in damages ($10 million compensatory and $62 million in a punishment award) to Fox’s family. A spokeswoman for J&J argued that the safety of talc has been “supported by decades of scientific evidence.” The jury also found that the company was “hiding something” after reviewing many internal documents related to the issue.
About 19 percent of American households use Johnson and Johnson brand baby powder. This was the second such case where the company was deemed at fault for a case of ovarian cancer. However this is the first case to award any damages.