Washington, July 13: A jury in the US on Thursday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $4.69 billion in damages to 22 women and their families who had claimed the company's talcum power products caused them to develop ovarian cancer.
The compensation awarded by a jury in St. Louis, Missouri, is divided into $550 million in compensatory damages and another $4.14 billion in punitive damages, Efe reported.
This is the largest damages Johnson & Johnson has faced to date among about 9,000 similar cases.
The plaintiffs, six of whom have already died, alleged that asbestos found in the baby-product company's talcum powder caused their ovarian cancer since the 1970s.
Johnson & Johnson, which has announced that it will appeal against the verdict, argues that its talc products do not contain asbestos or cause cancer.
The J&J case has received widespread media attention after the company was forced to pay $72 million to the family of a 62-year old who died of ovarian cancer. According to the claims of the family, the deceased Jacqueline Fox had been regularly applying talcum powder on her underwear since her teenage years. Despite several studies that tied the use of talc to ovarian cancer, J&J has always upheld the safety of their products, which they claimed was supported by scientific evidence. The company also said that 70 percent of the baby powder sales was made to adults.
Since then, the company has been sued by over 1000 US women who accused it of downplaying and concealing the cancer risk associated by its baby powder. In August 2017, a California jury made J&J pay $417 million to a woman who said she developed ovarian cancer after using its baby powder.