A California jury has ordered Johnson&Johnson to pay $417 million (Sh43 billion) to a woman who claimed she developed ovarian cancer after using the company’s talc-based products like Johnson’s Baby Powder for feminine hygiene.
The Los Angeles Superior Court jury’s verdict in favour of California resident Eva Echeverria was the largest yet in lawsuits alleging the company failed to adequately warn consumers about the cancer risks of its talc-based products.
“We are grateful for the jury’s verdict on this matter and that Eva Echeverria was able to have her day in court,” Mark Robinson, her lawyer, said in a statement.
The verdict included $70 million (Sh7.2 billion) in compensatory damages and $347 million (over Sh35.7 billion) in punitive damages.
It was a major setback for Johnson & Johnson, which faces 4,800 similar claims in the United States alone and has been hit with over $300 million (over Sh30.9 billion) in verdicts by juries in Missouri.
“We will appeal the verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder,” Johnson & Johnson said. The lawsuit was the first out of hundreds of California talc cases to go to trial.
The 63-year-old claimed she developed terminal ovarian cancer after decades of using Johnson & Johnson’s products. Her lawyers argued the firm encouraged women to use its products despite knowing of studies linking ovarian cancer to genital talc use.