Johnson & Johnson Talc Lawsuit Seeks Cancer Monitoring, Damages

The class action lawsuit claims the company’s talc products are ‘defective’ and ‘dangerous to human health.’
Johnson & Johnson Talc Lawsuit Seeks Cancer Monitoring, Damages
Bottles of Johnson & Johnson baby powder line a drugstore shelf in New York Oct. 15, 2015. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)
Katabella Roberts
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Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson is facing a class action lawsuit stemming from claims that its baby powder and other talc products allegedly caused ovarian cancer in women.

The lawsuit, filed on June 17 in a New Jersey federal court, asks the company to pay for damages and medical monitoring—including preventative and diagnostic care such as regular testing—on behalf of women who have been diagnosed with, or might develop, cancer in the future, allegedly as a result of using the company’s baby powder and other talc products.

The legal challenge asks that women who used the products between 1960 and the present day and who have not yet filed a separate lawsuit against the company be covered in the latest lawsuit.

According to the legal filing, the company’s talc products “are defective, dangerous to human health, unfit and unsuitable to be advertised, marketed, and sold in the United States, and lacked proper warnings associated with their use.”

Plaintiffs in the legal challenge were allegedly placed at “risk of adverse health effects and/or other harms caused by their exposure” to the talc products, according to the lawsuit.

The talc products “significantly increased (or increase) their risk of epithelial ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer, and primary peritoneal cancer,” it adds.

The plaintiffs are also requesting that their dependent children, parents, and spouses be included in the class-action legal challenge, as they have allegedly suffered losses as a result of the products.

Lawsuits Against Johnson & Johnson Mount

Those individuals have “necessarily paid and have become liable to pay (or may in the future pay) for medical aid, treatment, medications and other expenditures and will necessarily incur (or may incur) further expenses of a similar nature in the future as a proximate result” of using the Johnson & Johnson products, according to the legal filing.

The Epoch Times has contacted a Johnson & Johnson spokesperson for comment.

While the lawsuit could potentially include thousands of women who used J&J’s baby powder and are concerned about developing ovarian cancer in the future, it does not cover the more than 61,000 plaintiffs who have already filed lawsuits against the company, seeking damages allegedly stemming from the use of the talc products.

These lawsuits claim that the products contain traces of cancer-causing asbestos, which has been blamed for causing ovarian cancer and mesothelioma, a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs.

Johnson & Johnson has repeatedly stated that its talc-based baby powder does not contain asbestos and does not cause cancer.

However, in 2020, the company removed its talc-based powders from North American shelves, stating at the time that the decision to do so was due to what it called “misinformation” about the product.

It halted sales of the products globally last year.

In May, the company proposed paying out $6.5 billion to resolve the claims alleging its products caused ovarian cancer via a prepackaged bankruptcy, which needs support from 75 percent of talc claimants, with a three-month voting period ending on July 26.

A bottle of Johnson and Johnson Baby Powder is seen in a photo illustration taken in New York on February 24, 2016. (Reuters/Mike Segar)
A bottle of Johnson and Johnson Baby Powder is seen in a photo illustration taken in New York on February 24, 2016. (Reuters/Mike Segar)

Johnson & Johnson Must Pay Oregon Woman Damages

The deal would also prevent future lawsuits from being filed against the company regarding the ovarian cancer claims and stop individuals from opting out of the deal in order to pursue separate lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson.

However, Johnson & Johnson’s previous attempts to settle claims against it through bankruptcy filings have been rejected in court.

The latest lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson comes after the company earlier this month reached a $700 million settlement with 43 US states over claims it deceptively marketed the safety of its talcum-based powder products.

That settlement stemmed from a lawsuit in which a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general claimed the pharmaceutical giant had for years misled consumers about the safety and purity of some of its products in its advertisements, despite the products posing “significant health risks, including links to cancer, primarily due to potential asbestos contamination, a known carcinogen.”

Under that settlement, Johnson & Johnson must stop manufacturing, selling, promoting, or distributing any products containing talcum powder either directly or via a third party in the United States.

Johnson & Johnson has also not admitted any wrongdoing in relation to that settlement.

Earlier this month, an Oregon jury ordered the pharmaceutical firm to pay $260 million in damages to a woman who claimed her cancer was caused by alleged exposure to asbestos in the company’s baby powder.
Reuters contributed to this report.