September 14, 2016 — A woman from Louisiana is the latest to join a growing litigation alleging that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn about the risk of ovarian cancer from talcum powder products.
Shintelle Joseph says she started using Shower-to-Shower in her genital area when she was about 17 years old, and continued using the product for the next 10 years until she developed ovarian cancer.
The lawsuit (PDF) cites a number of studies linking talcum powder with ovarian cancer. In June 2013, a pooled analysis of 18,000 women in eight studies found a 20-30% increased risk of ovarian cancer.
Thousands of woman are currently suing the company in state courts nationwide. On September 29, a panel of federal judges will decide whether to centralize the cases in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL).
The number of lawsuits skyrocketed after two massive jury verdicts in St. Louis earlier this year. In February, the family of a woman who died of ovarian cancer was awarded $72 million.
In May, $55 million was awarded to another woman with ovarian cancer. Talc was found in her ovarian tissue after a hysterectomy.
Johnson & Johnson denies any link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer and says it does not need to warn about the risk. The company is appealing both jury verdicts.
Evidence produced during the trials shows that Johnson & Johnson was aware of health concerns since the mid-1970s. One internal memo (PDF) from 1992 acknowledged the risk of ovarian cancer, but recommended expanding the franchise by targeting black and Hispanic women.
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