World

J&J ordered to pay $154 million to woman for causing cancer

MISSOURI: Johnson & Johnson (J&J) was ordered by a Missouri jury to pay over US$110 million (S$154 million) to a Virginia woman who says she developed ovarian cancer after decades of using of its talc-based products for feminine hygiene.

The verdict in the state court in St Louis was the largest so far to arise out of about 2,400 lawsuits accusing the company of not adequately warning consumers about the cancer risks of talc-based products, including its well-known Johnson's Baby Powder.

Many of those lawsuits are pending in St Louis, where J&J has faced four prior trials, three of which resulted in US$197 million verdicts against J&J and a talc supplier.

Thursday's verdict came in a lawsuit against J&J and talc supplier Imerys Talc by Ms Lois Slemp, a resident of Virginia who is currently undergoing chemotherapy after her ovarian cancer initially diagnosed in 2012 returned and spread to her liver.

Ms Slemp claimed she developed cancer after four decades of using talc-containing products produced by J&J, including J&J's Baby Powder and Shower to Shower Powder.

The jury awarded US$5.4 million in compensatory damages and said J&J was 99 per cent at fault while Imerys was just 1 per cent culpable.

It awarded punitive damages of US$105 million against J&J and US$50,000 against Imerys.

J&J in a statement said it sympathised with women impacted by ovarian cancer but planned to appeal. - REUTERS

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