US jury awards $6.34 billion payout against Johnson & Johnson over talcum cancer claims

Stock image.
Stock image.

A jury has awarded A$6.34 billion dollars in punitive damages to 22 US women who claimed asbestos in Johnson and Johnson talcum powder led to them developing ovarian cancer.

The St Louis jury awarded A$741 million in actual damages to the women, the St Louis Post-Dispatch reported today.

That equates to roughly A$33.7 million for each family who sued the pharmaceutical company, which was founded in 1886.

Six of the 22 women have died from their cancer.

In a statement, Johnson & Johnson said it was “deeply disappointed in the verdict”.

The company said the result came about as “the product of a fundamentally unfair process that allowed plaintiffs to present a group of 22 women, most of whom had no connection to Missouri, in a single case all alleging that they developed ovarian cancer”.

“The result of the verdict, which awarded the exact same amounts to all plaintiffs irrespective of their individual facts, and differences in applicable law, reflects that the evidence in the case was simply overwhelmed by the prejudice of this type of proceeding.

“Johnson & Johnson remains confident that its products do not contain asbestos and do not cause ovarian cancer and intends to pursue all available appellate remedies.

“Every verdict against Johnson & Johnson in this court that has gone through the appeals process has been reversed and the multiple errors present in this trial were worse than those in the prior trials, which have been reversed.”