As Johnson & Johnson faces thousands of US lawsuits over potential cancer risks of its talc-based products, a California jury ordered the company Monday to pay $417 million in damages to a terminally ill woman.
Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay $417m (£323.4m) to a woman who says she developed ovarian cancer after using products such as baby powder.
More than 1,000 people have filed similar lawsuits against J&J.
Eva Echeverria's case was the first talc bellwether trial in the Golden State, and also the first outside of St. Louis, Missouri.
She stopped using it after hearing news reports of a verdict in another lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, he said, and now wanted to warn other women.
A spokeswoman for the company said that they are planning to appeal the decision, noting that scientific evidence proves that their baby powder is safe for all to use. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies talc used on the genitals as "possibly carcinogenic" because of the mixed evidence.
The lawsuit alleges that the company was aware of the cancer risks associated with talcum powder but failed to make the information public. "Besides that case, three other jury trials in St. Louis reached similar outcomes past year â€" issuing awards of $72 million, $ 70.1 million and $ 55 million, for a combined total of $ 307.6 million. Some case-control studies, based on asking women who have ovarian cancer about their history, have found a slightly increased risk.
She used the company's baby powder on a daily basis for more than 50 years, beginning in the 1950s until 2016, and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007, according to court papers. Studies had linked its baby powder and Shower to Shower talc products to cancer.
Carol Goodrich, a representative for the company, said, "Ovarian cancer is a devastating diagnosis and we deeply sympathize with the women and families impacted by this disease".
Moreover, her attorneys stressed that Johnson & Johnson had known long ago about cancer risks of using its talcum products but still marketed the unsafe products without any warning label as some experts advised. Earlier in May, a St. Louis, Missouri jury had awarded $110.5 million to a Virginia woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012.
"Several studies have suggested that using talcum powder increases the risk of ovarian cancer by 30 to 60 per cent".