Two Recent Verdicts In Favor of Johnson & Johnson Are Tainted By Questionable Circumstances
A jury found that a woman's Ashkenazi Jewish heritage was a more likely cause of ovarian cancer than her 30-year daily baby powder regimen
Tuesday, September 28, 2021 - Two recent court decisions this summer have been in favor of Johnson and Johnson. Johnson's Baby Powder did not cause a woman's ovarian cancer. An Illinois jury found that the plaintiff failed to prove her claim that using Johnson's Baby Powder for feminine hygiene caused her to develop ovarian cancer. The decision for the defense was the second in as many talcum powder cancer trials this summer that Johnson & Johnson has successfully defended themselves against baby powder ovarian cancer allegations. The jury returned the verdict for the defense after hearing five weeks of evidence. According to CosmeticsBusiness.com, "Ellen Kleiner, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in June 2011, and her husband's case was rejected by jurors in favor of the multi-billion corporation following five weeks of evidence, reported Law360." Johnson & Johnson, however, may not be as innocent as the driven snow as the media headlines would lead one to believe. The jury found that using talcum powder on the genital area could not be considered the sole reason for developing ovarian cancer and that certain ethnicities have a higher genetic risk of developing the disease. "Court filings from JNJ's legal team said that other factors had contributed to Kleiner's diagnosis, including her Ashkenazi Jewish heritage." In August of this year, a talcum powder lawsuit was brought by Colleen Cardigan, the surviving niece of the late Elizabeth Driscoll. According to Insurance Journal, "Relatives of the late Elizabeth Driscoll had sought up to $50 million in damages, saying J&J knew its baby powder and Shower to Shower products were dangerous." The lawsuit was notable in that a key witness for the defense was held in contempt for failing to show up in court for cross-examination.
The connection between using talc and ovarian cancer has always been an issue because talc has not been designated as a carcinogen. Particles of talc, however, can enter a woman's reproductive system through the vagina when it is used on the peritoneal region of the body, and eventually become permanently trapped in the ovaries. Because talc does not dissolve it can cause sufficient oxidative stress leading to cancer according to health experts. OvarianCancerNewsToday wrote that "Concerns about a link between talc and ovarian cancer first arose in the 1970s when a small study detected talc particles embedded in ovarian tumor tissue." Despite the questionable circumstances surrounding the defense verdicts, Johnson & Johnson spokespersons were quick to claim victory saying that "all links to ovarian cancer had been dismissed by scientific and medical authorities. The verdict reflected the jury's careful consideration of the science and facts presented while adding that we deeply sympathize with anyone suffering from cancer and know they are seeking answers."