J&J heads to court over alleged talcum powder, ovarian cancer link
- Plaintiffs in a class-action suit against Johnson & Johnson allege talcum power marketed by the company caused women to develop ovarian cancer, and that the company failed to warn consumers even though it knew about the risk. Trial began Tuesday in a Missouri Circuit Court.
- Lawyers for the family of Jackie Fox, who died from ovarian cancer last year, plan to presents internal documents of studies linking ovarian cancer, particularly in African-American and Hispanic women, with use of talcum powder.
- However, J&J's attorneys argue more recent studies show no link between talcum and ovarian cancer.
This is a challenging time for J&J. The company faces an onslaught of class-action litigation from consumers, including cases involving surgical mesh and Risperidone.
The trial hinges on whether the long-term use of talcum powder causes ovarian cancer, and whether J&J had information to support this link and failed to issue appropriate warnings. J&J attempted to have the suit dismissed, according to reporting from Bloomberg, but the judge in the case refused.
Whether talc increases the risk of ovarian cancer is a contentious issue because of conflicting evidence. In the 1970's, Daniel Cramer, a Harvard-based researcher found that women who used talc faced a 92% increased risk of ovarian cancer. Last year, Cramer and his colleagues published additional data showing a 33% increased risk of ovarian cancer associated with talcum powder usage.
However, in April 2014, the FDA issued a statement saying it had not found "conclusive evidence" of a link between talc usage for feminine hygiene and ovarian cancer. Overall, more than 1000 individual cases have been filed in Missouri and New Jersey.