Tuesday in a St. Louis courtroom, Johnson and Johnson defended itself from another lawsuit over talcum baby powder.
The suit was filed on behalf of a California woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. She claims the company was aware of an alleged link between the powder and ovarian cancer, but failed to take steps to warn consumers.
Johnson and Johnson already lost two cases including a $55 million and $72 million case.
The company released the following statement:
We recognize that women and families affected by ovarian cancer are searching for answers, and we deeply sympathize with everyone affected by this devastating disease. We are defending the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder because science, research, clinical evidence and decades of studies by medical experts around the world continue to support the safety of cosmetic talc.
Among the many studies that have confirmed the safety of talcum powder use, two widely-accepted, forward-looking, prospective cohort studies that included more than 130,000 women and were run over a long period of time - the Nurses' Health Study by the Harvard School of Public Health published in 2000 and 2010 and the Women's Health Initiative Observational Cohort by the U.S. National Institutes of Health published in 2014 - found no association between talc use for feminine hygiene and ovarian cancer. Another forward-looking, prospective cohort study, The Sister Study, published just this year by researchers from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, involved 50,884 women in the US and Puerto Rico and likewise found no association between talc use and ovarian cancer. In addition, no governmental or non-governmental authority has concluded that talc causes ovarian cancer.
Three previous cosmetic talc cases against Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. have gone to trial. In October 2013, a jury in Sioux Falls, SD declined to award damages to the plaintiff. In February 2016 and May 2016, juries in St. Louis granted verdicts in favor of the plaintiffs, going against decades of sound science and expert reviews on the safety of talc as a cosmetic ingredient. The company is appealing those verdicts.
A judge in New Jersey (United States) recently dismissed two cases that were set for trial in that state after finding that the plaintiffs’ experts who alleged Johnson’s Baby Powder caused ovarian cancer could not adequately support their theories, a decision that highlights the lack of scientific evidence behind plaintiffs’ allegations. The ruling was made after a two-week hearing specifically held to determine the sufficiency of the scientific evidence at the core of this litigation. The speculative theories put forward by plaintiffs in New Jersey are the same ones being used in all of the cases that have been filed around the United States.