Patient Safety News: Johnson & Johnson Failed to Warn About Talc Products, Jury Concludes

A jury in Oakland, Calif., has delivered another blow to health and manufacturing giant Johnson & Johnson, with a $29 verdict awarded to a woman who argued the company’s talc powders caused her cancer.

The March 13 verdict followed a trial that lasted longer than two months. It was the first talc-related case to go to trial since Reuters reported in December that Johnson & Johnson knew the talc in its powders sometimes contained asbestos, from the 1970s into the early 2000s, but failed to warn consumers.

According to Reuters, Johnson & Johnson faces more than 13,000 talc-related lawsuits nationwide. The company argues that numerous studies and regulatory agencies have found its talc products are safe, free of asbestos, and do not cause ovarian cancer, mesothelioma, or other cancers.

Berman & Simmons attorney Susan Faunce is handling dangerous drug and medical device claims involving women who developed cancer after use of products containing talc.

“It’s disappointing that manufacturers continue to claim their product is safe for their own gain,” Faunce said. “This situation is another example of why we must hold the corporations accountable for harming consumers.”

The plaintiff in the Oakland case, Terry Leavitt, used Johnson & Johnson talc products in the 1960s and 1970s. In 2017, Leavitt was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a type of cancer related to asbestos exposure.

There have been 11 trials against Johnson & Johnson where the plaintiffs have alleged a link between asbestos and cancer, Reuters reported. The plaintiffs won in three cases, including a $4.69 billion award to multiple plaintiffs in July 2018. Johnson & Johnson won in three cases, and five of the trials ended in hung juries. In all of the cases won by plaintiffs, Johnson & Johnson has appealed the verdicts.