There are more than 3,000 lawsuits pending over the company's baby powder and Shower to Shower talc products. Johnson & Johnson's agreed to buy Guidant Corp, a defibrillator manufacturer for $25.4 billion.
The company said it would quickly appeal the verdict awarded by a St. Louis jury, the fourth such losing case for J&J and Imerys SA, the talc mining company.
"It is very hard to establish causal relationships", he said, adding, "A lot of ovarian cancers occur in women who have never used talc, and many women have used talc and not gotten ovarian cancer".
And in early 2016, Jacqueline Fox's family was awarded US$72 million (AU$97 million) in damages after a jury found her use of talcum powder contributed to her widespread cancer. Another 200 individual suits are now pending in a federal multidistrict litigation proceeding in New Jersey, and about 350 lawsuits have been filed in state courts in California, New Jersey and Delaware.
"Once again we've shown that these companies ignored the scientific evidence and continue to deny their responsibilities to the women of America", Ted Meadows, a lawyer for Slemp and other plaintiffs, said in a statement. "I felt that J&J was withholding information about its products that was vital to women - vital to women like me", said juror Nancy Kinney, who described herself as over 50 years old.
"We are preparing for additional trials this year and we continue to defend the safety of Johnson's Baby Powder", J & J said. The next trial is set to begin on April 11 in St. Louis.
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Reuters reports that Lois Slemp says that using talc-based products including Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower to Shower Powder for four decades caused her to develop ovarian cancer in 2012.
The American Cancer Society notes that research looking at the potential link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer is mixed.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer arm of the World Health Organization, says genital use of talc-based body powder is "possibly carcinogenic to humans".
Johnson & Johnson was also ordered to pay $70 million in another case concerning its talcum power products.
The evidence concerning asbestos-free talcum products and cancer risk is more unclear. "Still, talc is widely used in many products, so it is important to determine if the increased risk is real".