A jury in California has ordered pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million to ovarian cancer patient, Eva Echeverria. According to Ms. Echeverria, she developed ovarian cancer after using the company's talc-based products for feminine hygiene.
The verdict included $70 million in compensatory damages and $347 million in punitive damages.
The verdict is the largest pay out to date for the ovarian cancer – talc powder court cases. According to news sources, the company lost 4 out of 5 trials over the past 2 years that have totaled over $300 million.
The pharmaceutical company also faces up to 4,800 more court cases across the nation.
According to the American Cancer Society, it is still not clear if there is a correlation, let alone causation, between talcum powder usage and ovarian cancer.
In 2016, the American Cancer Society stated
that “For any individual woman, if there is an increased risk, the overall increase is likely to very be small. Still, talc is widely used in many products, so it is important to determine if the increased risk is real. Research in this area continues.”
Ovarian cancer is rare and often difficult to detect in its early stages. By the time symptoms appear, it is often in its later stages where the tumor has already metastasized. If caught early however, treatment can control the cancer. Five-year survival rates for stage 1 of 2 ovarian cancers are in the 75%-94% range but drops to about 50% for stage 3 and 17% for stage 4 ovarian cancer.
The case is Echeverria et al v. Johnson & Johnson, Los Angeles Superior Court, No. BC628228.
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