A Los Angeles jury ordered Johnson&Johnson to pay $417 million to a medical receptionist who claims to have developed ovarian cancer after using the company’s baby powder on her perineum
Eva Echeverria, aged 63, is only one of the thousands of women who have sued the company, claiming that the baby powder they produce caused their disease, while also pointing fingers to studies that link talc to cancer. These studies date to 1971, when scientists in Wales found particles of talc in ovarian and cervical tumors.
Even though only a few lawsuits have actually gone to trial, most of the decisions have been against the company. For example, in May, a Missouri jury gave $110 million to a Virginia woman, just a year after the same state awarded $55 million to one plaintiff, and $72 million to a woman who, unfortunately, died before the verdict. Another woman won a lawsuit, but was not awarded any damages.
On the other hand, in March, a St. Louis jury declined a Tennessee woman’s claim that the product caused her ovarian cancer, while another jury in New Jersey dismissed other two lawsuits on the same topic.
There are many women who sprinkle baby powder on their inner thighs or use it on their perineum, sanitary pads or underwear due to its drying and freshening effects.
Ms. Escheverria was too sick to testify in court, so she gave a videotaped deposition. She mentioned that she started using the product when she was 11 and continued after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007. She also stated that she was not aware of the studies that link talc to cancer. She stopped using it as soon as she heard the news reports of a verdict on a similar lawsuit against the company.
Her lawyer said: ‘I’m not doing this for myself,’” Mr. Robinson said. “She knows she’s going to die. She’s doing this for other women. She wants to do something good before she leaves.”