Ovarian cancer court case verdict is the latest setback for Johnson and Johnson as they battle claims they didn’t warn customers about the dangers of using their talc-based beauty products.
A U.S. court in St. Louis has said that the pharma firm Johnson and Johnson must pay $110m in damages to a Virginian woman who says she developed ovarian cancer as a result of using their talc products.
The woman, Lois Slemp, claims she used Johnson and Johnsons talc-based products for more than 40 years and this resulted in her developing her cancer, for which she is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
The award by the court includes compensatory damage to the tune of $5.4m and punitive damages of $105m. The company is planning to appeal but have already lost three other cases in the previous year.
Experts are still divided over the links between talc and ovarian cancer, with talc being classed as “possibly carcinogenic” by the IARC (the International Agency for Cancer Research). That said, Johnson and Johnson is currently facing more than 2,000 other lawsuits in the U.S. over those of their products which contain talc.
It should be noted that the risk of developing ovarian cancer is small, with about 12 out of every 10,000 women being diagnosed each year. The worst case is considered to be that using talc on the genitals increases this risk by a third. This means even in the worst case, not many women will develop ovarian cancer due to their use of talc. Of course, that’s no consolation to those who do so, and it would seem wise to avoid using talc.