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Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Medical | By Garry George

Johnson & Johnson forced to pay $4.7 BILLION court settlement

Johnson & Johnson forced to pay $4.7 BILLION court settlement

The award of $4.14 billion in punitive damages on top of the $550 million meant to compensate each of 22 women and their families for their losses sent the company's shares down by as much as 3.3 percent in German trading. Unlike the case-control studies, these efforts began with a large group of women who did not have cancer and followed the progress of their health, with participants recording what they were doing in real time. On Thursday, Lanier highlighted results he said showed asbestos both in talc mines and the baby powder itself. Deane Berg had used the company's baby talcum powder for more than 40 years and discovered she had developed ovarian cancer in 2006.

Johnson & Johnson said in a statement it was disappointed in the verdict but would not comment further until the punitive damages are announced.

Johnson & Johnson called the verdict the result of an unfair process that allowed the women to sue the company in Missouri despite a lot of them not living in the state, and said it would appeal - as it has in previous cases that found for women who sued the company.

The company said its talc does not contain asbestos or cause ovarian cancer, and vowed it would 'pursue all available appellate remedies'. A New Jersey couple was awarded $117 million after after the husband claimed the J&J powder he inhaled gave him mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos exposure. In a press release, he said he hoped the verdict would bring attention to the alleged dangers of asbestos-containing talcum powder. Six of the women have died, so their families are pressing wrongful-death claims against Johnson & Johnson.

The plaintiff's lawyer stated that J&J should pull their baby powder from the shelves "before causing further anguish, harm, and death from a awful disease".

In some cases, large settlements have been overturned, as was the case in October when a Los Angeles judge overturned a $417 million settlement against the company on grounds that "serious misconduct" was allegedly committed by a jury.

J&J in a statement called the trial "fundamentally unfair" and said it would appeal the decision. Following that case, multiple women came forward and Johnson & Johnson is now facing around 9,000 cases regarding its talcum powder.

One juror, Evan Klene, 24, a financial analyst, said the jury tried "to understand the totality of what these women went through". The links between asbestos and cancer have amplified studies into its use in myriad ways since the 1970s.

The defense contended that claims linking asbestos to J&J's talc-based products was a lawyer-driven argument that lacked strong scientific support and that the women developed ovarian cancer for other reasons. The company said the "multiple errors present in this trial were worse than those in the prior trials which have been reversed". Valeant now faces suits over the body powder.

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