Johnson & Johnson shares fell Thursday after a jury in California ordered the company to pay over $ 29 million to a woman who claimed that asbestos in its talc-based products had caused his cancer.
Wednesday, the jury found out that Johnson & Johnson was aware of the potential risks that his baby powder was contaminated, but had not warned the woman, Teresa Leavitt.
Ms. Leavitt resident of San Leandro, received a diagnosis of mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of internal organs associated with asbestos, in August 201
The jury awarded Ms. Leavitt $ 22 million for her pain and suffering, $ 5 million to compensate her family members, about $ 1.3 million for her medical expenses and $ 1.2 million for her salaries lost, said Mr. Satterley .  Johnson & Johnson stated in a statement that he was disappointed with the verdict, citing "serious procedural and probative errors in the proceeding" and that he expected to appeal. As in past cases, the company fought with mixed success, said decades of testing showed that its baby powder did not contain asbestos or caused cancer. His shares fell by about 1% in early afternoon trading.
Over 13,000 plaintiffs have sued Johnson & Johnson for what they say are cancers caused by his talc products. The New York Times reported last year that the company had spent decades trying to maintain negative information on the potential risk of asbestos contamination from reaching the public.
Ms. Leavitt's complaint states that Johnson & Johnson, since the early 1900s, "had medical and scientific data that raised concerns about the presence of asbestos in talc and that showed the existence of health risks for those exposed to products containing talcum powder containing asbestos. "
Johnson & Johnson said in a regulatory filing last month that it received requests from the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission for more details on its talc products.
In July, a jury in Missouri awarded $ 4.69 billion to 22 women who claimed that asbestos in Johnson & Johnson products, including its baby powder, caused them the development of an ovarian tumor. In December, the company lost a motion to reverse the verdict. The company's appeal is currently pending.
Talc is used in more than 2,000 products, including many beauty and personal care products, according to government figures. The Food and Drug Administration warned this month that it had found asbestos in cosmetics sold by Claire, a retailer geared towards teenagers. The company said it had stopped selling all the talc products, including those mentioned by the agency, and planned to destroy its existing inventory. He also said he stopped making talc-based cosmetics last year.
On Tuesday, the House subcommittee on economic and consumer policy heard testimonies about the potential asbestos contamination of talc based personal care products. An epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle testified in hearing that talc significantly increases the risk of cancer.