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J&J wins trial in talc product liability lawsuits

By Nate Raymond

(Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) said on Friday that a state court jury in Missouri had returned a verdict in its favour in the latest trial to arise out of thousands of lawsuits alleging the company's talc-based products can increase the risk of ovarian cancer.

The jury sided with Johnson & Johnson and talc supplier Imerys Talc in a lawsuit by Tennessee resident Nora Daniels, who alleged that she used J&J Baby Powder for 36 years and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2013.

The verdict came after three straight prior jury verdicts in St. Louis against J&J awarding plaintiffs a combined $195 million. More than 2,500 lawsuits are pending in state court in St. Louis.

"The jury's decision is consistent with the science, research, clinical evidence and decades of studies by medical experts around the world that continue to support the safety of cosmetic talc," Johnson & Johnson said in a statement.

Imerys in a statement thanked the jury "for following the science that establishes the safety of talc."

Ted Meadows, a lawyer for Daniels, in a statement said he was disappointed by the verdict.

"We continue to maintain that the association between genital talc usage and ovarian cancer remains an issue of public health and demands that consumers be warned of the specific risks," he said in a statement.


Plaintiffs have accused J&J of failing for years to warn that talc was linked to an increased risk for ovarian cancer. J&J has said it acted properly in developing and marketing the products.

In February 2016, a Missouri state jury ordered J&J to pay $72 million to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer after years of using talc powder for feminine hygiene.

In May, another jury in Missouri returned $55 million to a woman who said the company's talc-powder products caused her to develop ovarian cancer. J&J was subsequently hit with a third verdict in October for $67.5 million.


(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)