Johnson & Johnson chalks up another talc loss with $29M mesothelioma verdict

Johnson & Johnson says tests by regulators worldwide have shown that its talc is safe and asbestos-free

Johnson & Johnson says tests by regulators worldwide have shown that its talc is safe and asbestos-free

It's the first defeat since a Missouri jury ordered the company a year ago to pay $4.69 billion to 22 women who blamed their cancer on the product.

A whopping 13,000 similar lawsuits have been filed across the country against the massive health care company.

The California Superior Court in Oakland agreed that the company's baby powder was a "substantial contributing factor" to her mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer caused by the inhalation of asbestos.

The lawsuit was brought by Leavitt was the first of more than a dozen J&J talc cases scheduled for trial in 2019.

A woman who claims asbestos in Johnson & Johnson products caused her deadly cancer was awarded $29.4 million by a California jury on Wednesday, Reuters reports.

A California jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $29 million to a woman with mesothelioma who claimed that asbestos in the conglomerate's talcum powder products caused her cancer.

The plaintiff, Terry Leavitt, said she regularly used two J&J products in the 1960s and '70s containing talc.

"Further, there have also been several trials where juries have concluded that Johnson & Johnson's product was not responsible for the plaintiffs' cancer, and in other instances, judges have dismissed cases outright, based on their own review of the facts", the company says.

In a statement, the company said it was disappointed in the verdict, and planned to appeal "because Johnson's Baby Powder does not contain asbestos or cause cancer".

'We respect the legal process and reiterate that jury verdicts are not medical, scientific or regulatory conclusions about a product, ' J&J said in a statement on Wednesday.

J&J attorneys asserted in court that there's no conclusive evidence talc caused Leavitt's mesothelioma.

J&J said it would appeal, pointing to "serious procedural and evidentiary errors", Reuters reported. A company executive in the 1970s warned that J&J's talc mines might not be free of asbestos.

Her lawyers noted that internal J&J documents indicated officials knew since the 1970s baby powder mined in places such as Vermont and Italy contained trace amounts of asbestos, but failed to alert consumers or regulators.

The US Food and Drug Administration had commissioned a study of a variety of talc samples, including Johnson & Johnson's, from 2009 to 2010.

Last year, a Los Angeles jury awarded US$25.7 million to a woman who blamed her cancer on the powder.

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