Swann v. Johnson & Johnson is the fifth trial in Missouri and the plaintiff, Nora Daniels, developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson’s products containing talcum powder. Plaintiffs in similar previous cases against Johnson & Johnson in 2016 were awarded multi-million dollar verdicts. Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based personal care products, such as its Baby Powder and Shower to Shower Absorbent Body Powder®, can lead to the cultivation of ovarian cancer when talc particles travel up to women’s ovaries.
Consultant John Hopkins, Johnson & Johnson’s representative in this case, claimed this week that the company was not responsible for failing to warn patients about the extensive evidence of the link between talc use for feminine hygiene and the development of ovarian cancer.
Hopkins maintained this claim even when the attorney for the plaintiff, Allen Smith, asked him about a 1997 letter Johnson & Johnson received, which describing the dangerous health risks for women associated with using talcum powder. The letter was written by Johnson & Johnson consultant, Dr. Alfred Wehner, who urged them to seriously consider the wealth of medical literature showing the talc-ovarian cancer link. According to Law360, the letter references nine studies that showed “a statistically significant association between talc and ovarian cancer,” and specifically cautioned the company that it was ”following in the footsteps of tobacco companies with regard to its attitude toward the research” (law360.com).
It’s also worth noting that Hopkins is an industry insider; a former Johnson & Johnson toxicologist who worked directly for the company until 2000. He now runs his own toxicology consultancy and Johnson & Johnson is one of this clients. He appeared in trial “on behalf of the company” (law360.com). Hopkins said the entire scientific community had to be unanimous before a company should warn its customers about health risks.
In related news, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has initiated a research study that will explore the potential link between cosmetic talc products and the development of ovarian cancer. This research project will span several years and is funded by the Office of Women’s Health. The research will seek to fill gaps in data surrounding early ovarian oncogenesis (formation of ovarian cancer).
The research description states that “Specifically, the association of such oncogenesis, with respect to exposure to [talc], is of particular interest to women’s health… “(chemicalwatch.com). The FDA Office of Color and Cosmetics will also update its review of epidemiological publications on the use of talc and ovarian cancer.
The Miller Firm is presently accepting clients who developed Ovarian Cancer after the personal use of Johnson & Johnson’s Talcum Powder. If this happened to you, please visit our Talcum Powder Lawsuit page to request a free consultation. Or, you can also call the Miller Firm at 1-800-882-2525.