A 63-year-old woman with terminal ovarian cancer was awarded $417 million on Monday after a jury in Los Angeles found Johnson & Johnson liable for not warning her about the risks of using the company's talcum products.
Eva Echeverria's lawsuit is one of 4,500 in the United States that allege Johnson & Johnson disregarded studies that link its baby powder and Shower to Shower products with ovarian cancer. The jury awarded her $347 million in punitive damages and $70 million in compensatory damages, and found there was a connection between her cancer and the powder. Echeverria, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2007, said she started using Johnson & Johnson's baby powder at age 11 and didn't stop until 2016; Echeverria testified she would have quit much sooner had she known about the link.
Her lawsuit cited a 1982 study that showed women who put talc on their genitals had a 92 percent increased risk for ovarian cancer, with the head researcher telling Johnson & Johnson it should put warning labels on its products, the Los Angeles Times reports. Johnson & Johnson, which said it plans on appealing the verdict, cited a different study from 2000, where researchers stated there was "no overall association" between talc use and epithelial ovarian cancer, but there was a "modest elevation in risk" for the type of cancer Echeverria has — serious ovarian cancer. She was not in the courthouse when the jury made its ruling, her attorney said, because she was too ill to attend.