J&J Must Warn Consumers About Ties Between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

J&J Must Warn Consumers About Ties Between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

October 7th, 2013 // 1:41 pm @

Source: Pharmalot

A South Dakota federal jury last week decided that pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson needs to warn consumers of a link between ovarian cancer and using J&J’s talcum powder, specifically for feminine hygiene. In coming to this decision, the jury decided that the product, called Shower to Shower, was a contributing factor for a woman who got ovarian cancer. She used the product for more than 30 years.

Deane Berg, a 56 year old woman, filed a lawsuit against J&J in 2009 after she learned about the cancer link from a pamphlet. The document talked about studies that went back for many decades that showed there was a link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder. She was diagnosed in 2006 and had no risk factors for that type of cancer.

Her lawyers stated that Berg would never have used the powder if she knew of the risk. J&J did not give any warning. Her lawsuit noted a number of studies that indicated use in the area of the female genitals could increase the cancer risk. A study in 2000 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute noted that there was a small increase in risk for developing ovarian cancer. Another study in 2004 showed there was some support for the theory that using talc increased cancer risk.

J&J has argued that talcum powder is 100% safe and research has never shown a strong enough link to mandate that a warning be issued. J&J also noted that this jury did not award damages to the woman, and didn’t agree that the powder is defective if it has no warning label.

Her lawyers noted that the company knew of the risks and did not put a warning on the product. One doctor looked at the cancer tissue of the woman, and he believed that talc was probably a factor in 10,000 cases of ovarian cancer annually.

J&J also recently got a subpoena from the attorney general in Mississippi, who is looking  into how talcum powder use is promoted. A spokesperson for the AG noted that the state is worried about problems associated with using talc in feminine hygiene.


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