Almost 14,000 cases are making their way through the legal system against Johnson & Johnson related to its talc products and people who feel that using them caused their cancer.
A jury in California has ordered Johnson & Johnson (J&J) to pay more than $29 million to a woman who claimed that asbestos in its talc-based powder products caused her cancer.
Jurors held J&J liable for Teresa Leavitt's mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that has been linked to asbestos exposure.
Johnson & Johnson said it is appealing the Oakland jury verdict and maintains that its baby powder is safe.
Johnson & Johnson has appealed all of the plaintiff verdicts, and the company said it is confident the verdicts would be overturned on appeal. "Thousands of independent tests by regulators and the world's leading labs prove our baby powder has never contained asbestos", the statement said.
A unit of J&J also recently invested in a public gene-therapy firm.
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Talc and asbestos are often mined together from metamorphic rocks, particularly in North Carolina, Alabama, Vermont and northern Italy. Johnson & Johnson is still appealing the verdict.
The company's shares traded lower after the news Wednesday evening and were slightly down Thursday morning.
Imerys Talc America Inc., which also supplied talc for J&J's powder, had been named as a defendant, but was dropped from the case after seeking bankruptcy protection to avoid being swamped with talc suits.
The shares of healthcare major Johnson and Johnson fell almost 2 percent on Thursday's premarket trading after the company was ordered to pay $29 million to a woman whose cancer was attributed to the asbestos contained in the company's talcum-powder products. For the record, the company has shown that decades of testing indicated that the use of baby powder was safe and asbestos-free. Among the recent verdicts include Los Angeles jury's award of $21.7 million to a woman who accused the company of causing cancer to her with its powder products.
"'They knew there was asbestos in it, and for me that's the worst part because they failed to warn the consumer", said Kate Alessandri, an Oakland librarian.
"I don't think they made a good case" that J&J's Baby Powder "contained a significant enough amount of asbestos contamination to cause the illness", she said. "Talc does not cause cancer".