A jury in the circuit court of St. Louis, Missouri, awarded $72 million in damages to the family of Jacqueline Fox who had died of ovarian cancer. The verdict, announced Monday night, came after a trial where lawyers alleged that Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based Baby Powder and Shower to Shower was linked to ovarian cancer. Ms. Fox was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after having used Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for feminine hygiene for more than 35 years. The verdict is the first by a U.S. jury to award damages over the claims. The verdict included $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages.
Lawyers alleged that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers that its talc-based products could cause cancer, in an effort to boost sales. The Missouri jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for fraud, negligence, and conspiracy.
A 2009 study by Dr. Margaret Gates found that women who use talc-based powder around their genital area have a 40 percent higher risk of ovarian cancer versus those who do not. An expert involved in the recent trial in St. Louis testified that at least 45,000 women have died as a result of ovarian cancer that could be attributed to talcum powder use.