Los Angeles jury have asked Johnson & Johnson to pay $417-million to a woman who have claimed that she developed ovarian cancer after using the company’s talc-based products.
The verdict in favour of California resident Eva Echeverria was the largest yet in lawsuits alleging J&J failed to 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,” said Mark Robinson, her lawyer, in a statement.
The plaintiff, Eva Echeverria, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007. A surgeon removed a softball-sized tumor, but Echeverria is now near death and was unable to attend the trial, one of her attorneys said.
Echeverria said in her lawsuit. Echeverria’s attorney, Mark Robinson, said his client hoped the verdict would lead Johnson & Johnson to include additional warnings on its products.
“Mrs. Echeverria is dying from this ovarian cancer and she said to me all she wanted to do was to help the other women throughout the whole country who have ovarian cancer for using Johnson & Johnson for 20 and 30 years,” Robinson said.
“She really didn’t want sympathy,” he added. “She just wanted to get a message out to help these other women.” Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman Carol Goodrich said in a statement that the company will appeal the jury’s decision.
“We are grateful for the jury’s verdict on this matter and that Eva Echeverria was able to have her day in court,” said Mark Robinson, one of her attorneys, who accused Johnson & Johnson of “covering up the truth for so many years.”
Johnson & Johnson immediately announced it would seek to overturn the verdict.
“We will appeal today's verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson's Baby Powder,” the company said in a statement.
Among the studies the company cited was one in 2000 by researchers at Harvard University that was part of the National Nurses Health Study of more than 121,000 women, including 78,630 who said they had used talc. Ovarian cancer eventually struck 307 of them.
The researchers concluded there was “no overall association” between talc use and “epithelial ovarian cancer,” though there was a “modest elevation in risk” for one variety of the disease. That type, invasive serous ovarian cancer, is the one Echeverria has, according to court papers.