Johnson Johnson was ordered Monday to pay $417 million to a California woman in a lawsuit that alleged the company's baby powder causes cancer.
This is the largest sum ordered to be paid yet by Johnson Johnson, which is being sued in several states over charges that it does not adequately warn consumers about the cancer risk of its baby powder.
Attorneys for the plaintiff, Eva Echeverria, argued that the talc in the company’s famous baby powder can cause ovarian cancer when continually applied for feminine hygiene purposes. Echeverria said that she used the product from the 1950s to 2016. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007.
Echeverria charged that the company knew that talc, when applied regularly to a woman’s genitals, was linked to cancer, but that it still encouraged women to use the baby powder to control moisture and odor.
"We are grateful for the jury's verdict on this matter and that Eva Echeverria was able to have her day in court," her lawyer, Mark Robinson, said in a statement after the verdict was announced.
The company argued that federal agencies like the Food and Drug Administration have not ruled talc to be carcinogenic.
"We will appeal today's verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson's Baby Powder,” Johnson Johnson responded in a statement.
Echeverria’s case, decided by a Los Angeles Superior Court jury, is just the first of hundreds of lawsuits facing Johnson Johnson’s to go to trial in California because of the cancer risk in their baby powder, . Across the nation, the company, founded in 1886, faces some 4,800 lawsuits over the same issue. Last year, three juries in Missouri awarded plaintiffs more than $300 million in damages.