Category: Talc

Investors Sue Johnson & Johnson for Losses

Investors Sue Johnson & Johnson for Losses

Johnson & Johnson officials may already be wondering if past profits from its nearly ubiquitous Baby Powder will pay for the ongoing losses from lawsuits brought by cancer patients or their living relatives.

The company has faced thousands of lawsuits from women and/or their relatives after victims contracted ovarian cancer. Medical studies have shown that talc-containing personal hygiene products, such as Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder, can increase the risk of ovarian cancer as much as 30 percent for women who used the product in their genital area.
Talc particles can make their way through the reproductive system and land in the ovaries, where they can grow into cancerous tumors.

Juries have awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts to cancer victims across the country who sued Johnson & Johnson after contracting ovarian cancer.

Another line of litigation that has begun in recent months involves asbestos-contaminated talc. Documents revealed in trials showed that Johnson & Johnson and other companies knew for many years several talc mines had been contaminated with asbestos.
In those cases, victims contracted cancers such as mesothelioma after being exposed to talc-containing products.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly cancer that usually comes from inhaled or ingested asbestos fibers. The fibers attach to the lining of internal organs such as the lungs or heart and become cancerous, sometimes after many years of dormancy.

Asbestos, now restricted, was a common building material because of its sturdiness and fire-resistant qualities. It was used in concrete, ceiling and floor tiles, insulation and various automotive parts such as brake pads and gaskets.

Until the industry documents came to light, mesothelioma cases involving people who had been exposed to talc-containing products but not asbestos-containing materials didn’t fit normal patterns. Now, many cancer victims can understand where their cancer came from and who is responsible for it.
As if those lines of liability weren’t enough, Johnson & Johnson is now facing a third threat — investor lawsuits.
A Bloomberg story written by Jennifer Bennett notes that an investor class-action suit against Johnson & Johnson contends the investors lost money because of the revelations the company knew of the risks posed by its products but did nothing to alert the public or change the elements of its products. The suit has been filed in federal court in New Jersey.
According to the story, the investors claim “the company misled them about the decades-old link, repeatedly saying its talc products were asbestos-free and safe.” Negative media coverage coming from lawsuits against the company have led to stock price declines.
A spokesman for Johnson & Johnson dismissed the case as “baseless.”
“Johnson’s Baby Powder does not contain asbestos or cause mesothelioma or ovarian cancer, and we are confident that our talc products are, and always have been, free of asbestos, based on decades of monitoring, testing and regulation dating back to the 1970s,” Knewitz said. “Sample testing by independent laboratories, independent scientists, governmental agencies and academic institutions spanning decades have all confirmed the absence of asbestos in our talc products.”

Johnson & Johnson Target of Talc Powder Caused Ovarian Cancer

As Americans begin to learn more about the dangers of talc, more of them are using the court system to hold accountable companies whose products contain the mineral.

A new case has been brought against Johnson & Johnson in Los Angeles County. The plaintiff is a man whose wife died of ovarian cancer. The woman used Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower to Shower powder, both feminine hygiene products.

This new filing comes on the heels of a recent jury finding in St. Louis that the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer after using talc-containing feminine hygiene products was entitled to $72 million in damages.
According to court documents, Soren Threadgill contends that his wife, Eva Maria, used the talc-containing products for 25 years. Doctors diagnosed her with ovarian cancer in 1998, and she died four years later.

His suit contends that Johnson & Johnson; Imerys Talc America, Johnson & Johnson’s main talc supplier; and the stores where the products were purchased, Rite Aid Corp. and Gelson’s, a supermarket chain, are liable for her wrongful death. The suit also alleges fraud, negligence, breach of implied warranty and product liability.

As in more than 1,000 cases across the country, Eva Maria Threadgill used the talc-containing products on a daily basis. Research has shown that talc particles from the powders make their way through the female genital area, ultimately settling in the ovaries, where they lead to a significant cancer risk.

Johnson & Johnson marketing efforts over the past several decades show that the company intended for its products to be used regularly — “Just a sprinkle a day keeps the odor away,” one ad slogan reads, according to Threadgill’s complaint. Another slogan encourages women to use the products “ anytime you want the skin to feel soft, fresh and comfortable.”

However, leading cancer researchers have linked talc to cancer for many years. In 1994, the Cancer Prevention Coalition warned Johnson & Johnson that females who use talc-containing products in their genital area are at “a serious risk of ovarian cancer,” Threadgill’s suit notes. Also in the suit is the fact that the International Association for the Research of Cancer labeled as a human carcinogen hygiene powders that contain talc.

To date, Johnson & Johnson has refused to include a warning label of the cancer risk on any of its products that include talc. The company has earned special scorn for its marketing efforts toward African-American females, who use body powders at a higher rate than the female population in general.