An Illinois woman is suing consumer health care products giant Johnson & Johnson and the retailer Walgreens claiming the companies knowingly promoted dangerous use of talcum power, which caused her to develop ovarian cancer.
Candace Lewis claims that she used Johnson & Johnson’s talc-containing products on her genitals for personal hygiene based on the company’s advertising encouraging women to “dust themselves with this product to mask odors,” from 1981 to 2014, in Illinois, Arkansas, Georgia, and Virginia. In 2013, at the age of 49, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
In 1982, a study linked the use of talcum powder on the genitals to an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer by 92 percent. A decade later, toxicologists labeled talc a carcinogen. In 1994, based on this information, a cancer prevention group asked Johnson & Johnson chief executive Ralph Larson to remove talc-containing products from the market. The company even refused to warn consumers of the ovarian cancer risk or instruct them on safer use of its talc-containing products.
Walgreens was named in the lawsuit because, like Johnson & Johnson, the company should have been aware of the cancer risk, yet the company promoted the product to its customers.
Lewis filed her lawsuit in Madison County circuit court. In May , Johnson & Johnson removed the suit to federal court, arguing that Lewis had no viable claim against Walgreens and only named Walgreens as a defendant in order to defeat federal jurisdiction.
U.S. District Judge Staci Yandle responded, “Under Illinois law, all entities in the chain of distribution for an allegedly defective product are subject to state liabilityin tort.” On Aug. 31, Judge Yandle sent the claim back to Madison County circuit court, adding, “Accordingly, Walgreens will remain in the lawsuit even if it has a valid defense to the strict liability claim.”
Source: Madison Record