Johnson & Johnson and Luzenac, a talc mining company, funded a study that purported to show that exposure to talcum powder does not cause ovarian cancer. News about the pharmaceutical giant’s role in funding the 2008 study came to light last week during a lawsuit filed by 22 women who were diagnosed with cancer after using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products.
The study in question, “Perineal Talc Use and Ovarian Cancer: A Critical Review,” was published in 2008 in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention. The study cited the law firm Crowell Moring, which had been retained by the two companies, as a source of research funding, but did not list either Johnson & Johnson or Luzenac as financiers of the research.
In fact, Johnson & Johnson and Luzenac paid the lead researcher on the study $20,000 in order to conduct research that would disprove that their products caused ovarian cancer. Although the study cited several other studies which had found a link between talc and cancer, the researchers dismissed these findings, saying that they “do not indicate that cosmetic talc causes ovarian cancer.”
A 2005 email written by a Johnson & Johnson executive showed that the company took extensive measures to hide their role in funding the talc study. According to the email, Johnson & Johnson planned to have a law firm, Crowell & Moring, retain the lead researchers on the study as clients in order to shield their work under attorney-client privilege and shield the company’s role in funding the research.
The lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson by the 22 women allege that the company’s talcum powder products contain asbestos, putting women who use them for feminine hygiene at risk of developing ovarian cancer. Although Johnson & Johnson has denied these claims during the trial, attorneys for the 22 women pointed to a study conducted by the FDA of the company’s talcum powder products, which showed that they were contaminated with asbestos. Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay over $300 million in damages to customers who were diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using the company’s talc brands.
Johnson & Johnson has also faced lawsuits filed by customers who were diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer after using Johnson’s Baby Powder, Shower to Shower, or other talc brands sold by the company. In two separate trials, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay damages of $117 million and nearly $22 million to customers who developed mesothelioma cancer after using talcum powder products that they alleged were contaminated with asbestos.
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with ovarian cancer or mesothelioma cancer after using talcum powder products sold by Johnson & Johnson or other manufacturers, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. The first step in taking legal actions is to talk with an attorney who can advise you of your legal rights and guide you through the steps in filing a claim.
The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson currently represent dozens of women who have contracted ovarian cancer following long-term exposure to talcum powder. Our law firm has also filed numerous product liability lawsuits on behalf of our clients, including cases involving defective medical products, dangerous drugs, faulty medical devices, and other commercial products.
For more information about filing a talcum powder lawsuit and to find out if you are eligible to file a case, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by filling out the free case evaluation form located on the left side of this page.