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Monday, September 28, 2020

Does baby powder cause cancer? Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $110m in talc cancer case

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The problems of multinational company Johnson & Johnson are not over yet. This is the 4th time that it has been hit with a multimillion-dollar jury verdict. Before this, the company has faced many trials for its iconic baby powder. The people across the world have claimed that the baby powder is responsible for ovarian cancer when regularly used for feminine hygiene.

On last Thursday, a 62-year-old lady, Lois Slemp was awarded $110.5 million by St. Louis jury. Lois Slemp was detected with cancer back in 2012 and she accused that the disease arose due to regular use of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products. She was using these products for more than 40 years.

Apart from Slemp’s case, there were three other court trials in which St. Louis Jury had arrived at the same decision. The jury had ordered to pay $72 million, $70.1 million and $55 million to the user who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. If we sum up this amount, this is around $307.6 million.

The company bravely defended these cases but unfortunately lost all three of them. In order to protect itself, this time again the company will file a plea against the fourth case.

In few previous cases, the company got some legal victories when St. Jury rejected the cases of ovarian and uterine cancers. Besides this, two cases in New Jersey were rejected by the jury due to lack of solid evidence that talc product had caused cancer.

As per the reports, next baby powder trial is in St. Louis. Further, the company will face another trial in July in California.

Investor’s view on this matter

Investors really don’t seem much bothered about the financial trouble of the company. However, after this latest case, on Friday in the late afternoon, its share price fell down by 62% ($123.10).. As per the reports, the company has faced more than 2,000 lawsuits. This is really alarming news for its investors who have got strong faith in the company’s financial reputation.

J&J is the biggest manufacturer of health care products in the world. Every year, more than $72 billion yearly sales revenue comes from its wide-ranging products. Because of this wider range of products investors really don’t worry much when it loses product liability lawsuits. Hence its stock price rarely goes down.

Like many other mysterious questions of science, there is no certain answer for this as well. Since the finding, the reason behind cancer is very difficult to ascertain. These trials were done on the group of women who were asked to use talc products on their genitals. They waited for longer time to see whether it caused cancer. They were compared with the group of women who didn’t use talc products. However, few agencies called these trials unethical.

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