Thursday's massive verdict, handed down in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, was comprised of $550 million in compensatory damages and $4.14 billion in punitive damages, according to an online broadcast of the trial by Courtroom View Network. The firm is embroiled in several cases against its trademark baby powder. Johnson & Johnson sold the product to Valeant Pharmaceuticals International in 2012.
In a statement, it described the trial as 'a fundamentally unfair process that allowed plaintiffs to present a group of 22 women, most of whom had no connection to Missouri, in a single case all alleging that they developed ovarian cancer'.
This is not the first case brought against the company, nor will it be the last. There are thousands of cases now making their way through court systems all around the country. In five of the cases, women who sued have had a favorable verdict. All of those cases are in various stages of appeal.
The company has, since then, been sued by thousands of women and in August 2017, it was ordered by a Los Angeles jury to pay damages of Dollars 417 million to a hospital receptionist, who developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson's Baby Powder for decades. Goodrich predicted the verdict would be reversed.
Johnson & Johnson plans to appeal the decision.
The science is still up for debate. Numerous other women involved took the stand at trial to talk about their use of the products and how ovarian cancer affected their lives.
"Given evidence is inconsistent we do advocate a "better safe than sorry" attitude and advise that women using talc on their genitals stop doing so". Other studies have not shown a connection.
Despite inconclusive evidence, there have been concerns that using talcum powder on the genitals can lead to ovarian cancer. In the United States, government agencies and medical associations that track what causes cancer believe the topic needs more research to know for sure. The watchdog did not find asbestos contamination.
J&J is also fighting a separate battle with plaintiffs who blame the company's talc products for their developing mesothelioma, a form of cancer generally found in the lungs, that is linked to asbestos exposure. "Then someone at J&J decides to expose babies to asbestos?"
This is the country's first talc/asbestos-induced ovarian cancer verdict.
Asbestos fibers and talc particles were found in the ovarian tissues of numerous women, the plaintiffs' lawyers said. The women in this case claim to have all used talc based powder for decades to keep their bodies smelling fresh and clean, particularly in their genital area.