Trigger warning for the chafed: A Missouri state jury has ordered talcum-powder-makers Johnson & Johnson to pay $72 million to the family of an ovarian-cancer victim. Jere Beasley, attorney for Jacqueline Fox, says in an effort to boost sales, Johnson and Johnson failed for decades to warn consumers that its talc-based products could cause cancer.
Fox, who used to live in Birmingham, Alabama, claimed that she had used Shower to Shower and Baby Powder for her feminine hygiene for over 35 years prior to being diagnosed in 2013 with cancer.
Fox's civil suit, which was taken over by her son Marvin Salter when she passed away from the cancer this fall, was a part of a larger claim filed in St. Louis Circuit Court. "It was really clear they were hiding something", said jury foreman Carol Goodrich, citing internal J&J documents reviewed by the jurors.
The jury deliberated for just four hours following a trial of three weeks.
According to BBC's Health Editor, concerns that the use of talcum powder, particularly on the genitals, may increase the risk of ovarian cancer, are nothing new.
Fox's lawyer claimed that the company had known the risk "as far back as the 1980s". Johnson & Johnson is facing 1,200 other cases from women concerning talcum powder, CBS News notes.
Dr. Daniel Cramer, a prominent researcher and expert witness in the J&J trial, published his first study on the subject in 1982 and has been involved in several more studies on the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer with his most recent published in 2015. "We sympathize with the plaintiff's family but firmly believe the safety of cosmetic talc is supported by decades of scientific evidence".
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX.TO) now owns the Shower to Shower brand but was not a defendant in the Fox case.