Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay a record $110 million to a Virginia woman who claims the company's baby powder caused her ovarian cancer, the Associated Press reports. This is the third lawsuit the company has lost in a little more than a year.
Per a St. Louis jury's decision, Johnson & Johnson owes this money to 62-year-old Louis Slemp, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. Slemp is just one of many people who blame their diagnoses on decades of using J&J's baby powder to control vaginal odor.
Talc, an ingredient in the baby powder, has been linked to a greater risk of ovarian cancer when used on a person's genitals, although the connection is still inconclusive. There are currently about 2,000 lawsuits in both state and federal courts claiming that long-time use of talc powder causes health problems, according to the Associated Press.
Slemp and others who have filed lawsuits against J&J claim that the company knew it's talcum powder could raise ovarian cancer risk and did nothing to warn customers.
Johnson & Johnson said in a statement on their website that while they sympathize with the women who have ovarian cancer and who have filed lawsuits, they plan to appeal the decision, as there are two previous cases that ordered the company to pay damages.
"We will begin the appeals process following today’s verdict and believe a jury decision in our favor in St. Louis in March and the dismissal of two cases in New Jersey in September 2016 by a state court judge who ruled that plaintiffs’ scientific experts could not adequately support their theories that talcum powder causes ovarian cancer, further highlight the lack of credible scientific evidence behind plaintiffs’ allegations," J&J said in the statement.
Last February, the company was ordered to pay $72 million to the family of Jacqueline Fox, who said she used baby powder on her genitals for 35 years before being diagnosed with ovarian cancer and dying at 62. The same court ordered the company to pay another $55 million to Gloria Ristesund, who also used baby powder on her genitals and had to have a hysterectomy due to her ovarian cancer.
Although reports have found no absolute proof that talc causes ovarian cancer, those who have filed lawsuits rely on case studies that claim talc, when used on genitals, increases ovarian cancer risk by up to 40%, the AP reports.
Read these stories next: