The complainants claim that the use of the talcum powder for their personal hygiene had caused ovarian cancer.
Rabat – A court of appeal in Missouri ordered Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday to pay $2.12 billion in damages in a lawsuit regarding cancer-causing asbestos in its talc products, rather than the $4.69 billion originally ordered in 2018.
The court rejected the American pharmaceutical giant’s bid to overturn the jury’s verdict after they decided the company’s baby powder and some other talc-based J&J products caused cancer. While the appellate court upheld the verdict, it halved the damages.
The case was brought to trial after 22 women accused Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder of causing their cancer. The company announced in May the halting of its baby powder sales in the US and Canada.
The court claimed that the “defendants disregarded the safety of consumers despite their knowledge the talc in their products caused ovarian cancer.”
The American company has pledged to once again appeal the court’s decision at the Supreme Court of Missouri.
Johnson & Johnson spokesperson Kim Montagnino condemned the court’s decision, calling the process “a fundamentally flawed trial” that was “grounded in a faulty presentation of the facts.”
“We deeply sympathize with anyone suffering from cancer, which is why the facts are so important. We remain confident that our talc is safe, asbestos-free, and does not cause cancer,” added the spokesperson.
Investigations revealed that the talcum sometimes contained small amounts of asbestos, a non-organic material that causes several cancers including larynx, ovarian, and digestive cancer.
“Company executives, mine managers, scientists, doctors, and lawyers fretted over the problem and how to address it while failing to disclose it to regulators or the public,” reported Reuters in an investigation published in December 2018.
The company faces more than 19,000 lawsuits claiming that its talc products caused cancer because of asbestos contamination.