A Missouri jury ordered health products giant Johnson & Johnson to pay more than $110 million to a Virginia woman for allegedly failing to disclose the cancer risk from its baby powder and another product.
Lois Slemp, 62, prevailed in the case after suing the company when she was diagnosed in 2012 with ovarian cancer. She alleged that J&J concealed the possibility that talc in its baby powder and Shower to Shower products can cause cancer.
The case deepens J&J's legal crisis connected to talc. The company has already lost several similar cases, including verdicts of $72 million, $70 million and $55 million. And it faces multiple federal class-action suits in the matter, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
A J&J spokesperson was not immediately available for comment Friday morning. But the company has repeatedly denied the connection between talc and cancer and rejected the suggestion that it should have warned consumers.
The company told Bloomberg that it would appeal the case.
The alleged connection between talc and cancer "goes against decades of sound science proving the safety of talc as a cosmetic ingredient in multiple products," a J&J spokesperson told USA TODAY in 2016 regarding a similar case, "and while we sympathize with the family of the plaintiff, we strongly disagree with the outcome."
After three weeks of testimony in Slemp's case, a 12-person jury deliberated for 10 hours before delivering the verdict against J&J.
“They chose to put profits over people, spending millions in efforts to manipulate scientific and regulatory scrutiny," said Ted Meadows, a Beasley Allen lawyer representing Stemp and other similar plaintiffs, in a statement. "I hope this verdict prompts J&J to acknowledge the facts and help educate the medical community and the public about the proper use of their products."
J&J's stock barely budged in pre-market trading Friday, falling 0.1% to $123.87. The company sold the Shower to Shower brand several years ago,
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.
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