A California jury on Wednesday awarded $29 million to a woman who said that asbestos in Johnson & Johnson's talcum-powder-based products caused her cancer. This is the latest development in over 13,000 lawsuits the company is facing across the US.
"This track record shows that there are one set of facts in these cases, and that decades of tests by independent, non-litigation driven experts and institutions repeatedly confirm that Johnson's Baby Powder does not contain asbestos or cause cancer", the company said.
Analysts at UBS say the ruling could encourage more lawsuits against the company.
"We are disappointed with today's verdict and will pursue an appeal because Johnson's Baby Powder does not contain asbestos or cause cancer", Kim Montagnino, a J&J spokesperson, told Bloomberg. Some studies have found an increased cancer risk, but others do not.
In July 2018, a jury in Missouri ordered the pharmaceutical company to pay $4.7 billion (Rs 32,169 crore) in damages to 22 women who alleged that they had developed ovarian cancer after using the company's talc products.
Imerys Talc America Inc., which also supplied talc for J&J's powder, had been named as a defendant, but was dropped from the case after seeking bankruptcy protection to avoid being swamped with talc suits. It unsuccessfully appealed the verdict.
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Asbestos is a term for a group of minerals often found near talc, which is widely used in cosmetics.
A court in the U.S. state of California ordered Johnson & Johnson to compensate a woman to the tune of $29 million for cancer complications she developed from using the company's talcum powder, according to media reports.
The company has denied all asbestos-related allegations, including a Reuters report that claimed executives knew for years that the powder contained the carcinogen.
J&J has refused to put a warning on its recognizable white bottles bearing the powder, even though a separate California jury a year ago asked a judge to order the company to do so. When asbestos fibers are breathed in, they travel to the ends of small air passages and reach the membranes of the thorax and lunges.
Johnson's Baby Powder is immensely popular across the world, including India where its manufactured locally.
It is one of the most mysterious cancers, and it's not clear why asbestos travels to ovarian tissues, but it is well-documented.