A California jury on Wednesday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay US$29 million to a woman who alleged that asbestos in the company's talcum-powder-based products, including Johnson's Baby Powder, caused her mesothelioma, the latest defeat for the healthcare conglomerate which is facing thousands of similar lawsuits.
Terry Leavitt had brought on the lawsuit against J&J and said she used the company's Baby Powder and Shower to Shower in the 1960s and 1970s and was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2017, Reuters reported. The company did not provide further details of the alleged errors.
J&J denies allegations that its talc causes cancer, saying numerous studies and tests by regulators worldwide have shown that its talc is safe and asbestos-free.
Her suit is one of many that link cancers to asbestos in Johnson & Johnson's talc-based products and contend that the company concealed the health risk for decades.
Talc and asbestos are often mined together from metamorphic rocks, particularly in North Carolina, Alabama, Vermont and northern Italy.
The jury deliberated for two days before delivering its verdict.
'Yet another jury has rejected J&J´s misleading claims that its talc was free of asbestos, ' said Moshe Maimon, a lawyer for Leavitt, in a statement on Wednesday.
The company has insisted that its talc-based products are demonstrably safe but it has lost a string of court cases.
Leavitt's trial originally included J&J's talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, a unit of Imerys SE, as a co-defendant. Exposure to it may increase risks of a number of diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. Johnson & Johnson also won three cases, while five led to hung juries. "We respect the legal process and reiterate that jury verdicts are not medical, scientific or regulatory conclusions about a product", the company said.