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J&J pays out $37m in damages over claims its talc contains asbestos

Published on 06/04/18 at 09:44am

Bad news for Johnson & Johnson as it emerges that the US pharma giant has been ordered to pay out $37 million in damages after losing the first trial in a legal dispute which alleges that its Baby Powder product contains the carcinogenic ingredient asbestos.

Stephen Lanzo asserted that his regular use of the product since his birth in 1972 had caused him to develop mesothelioma, a cancer which affects the tissue lining of most often the lungs, but sometimes the digestive system and other locations. The $37 million was broken down into $30 million for Lanzo and $7 million for his wife in compensation.

The jury decided that J&J was culpable for “70%” of the damages, which its talc supplier Imerys was responsible for 30%. The US firm has consistently denied the charges, maintaining that its product does not contain asbestos or cause the onset of cancer, and though it stated that it was disappointed in the ruling, it said it would reserve comment until the trial’s end. Imerys echoed the sentiments and said it plans to appeal the decision.

The verdict was reached at Middlesex County Superior Court in New Brunswick, New Jersey, where the trial is one of over 6,500 similar cases levied against J&J over claims its talcum powder products cause ovarian cancer.

Matt Fellows

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