US: Johnson & Johnson asked to pay $29 million to cancer patient who used its talcum powder

A United States jury on Wednesday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $29 million (Rs 202 crore to a woman diagnosed with cancer, who alleged that the asbestos in the firm’s talcum-powder-based products caused her disease, Reuters reported. This is the latest development in over 13,000 lawsuits the company is facing across the US.

The pharmaceutical firm is also embroiled in a case involving faulty hip implants.

The conglomerate said it would appeal the order and cited “serious procedural and evidentiary errors” in the trial’s proceedings. “We respect the legal process and reiterate that jury verdicts are not medical, scientific or regulatory conclusions about a product,” the company said.

Johnson & Johnson had refuted allegations that the product causes cancer and cited several studies and tests that to prove that its talc is safe.

The petitioner, Terry Leavitt, said she used Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower during the 1960s and 1970s before being diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2017.

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.

The US Food and Drug Administration had commissioned a study of a variety of talc samples, including Johnson & Johnson’s, from 2009 to 2010. It found no asbestos in any of them. But the prosecution lawyer told the Missouri court that the FDA and Johnson & Johnson had used flawed testing methods.

On March 10, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation in India ordered the company to pay over Rs 74.5 lakh as compensation to a patient from Maharashtra who used faulty hip implants manufactured by the pharmaceutical giant.