A federal court has rejected Johnson & Johnson’s bid to keep three lawsuits from a pool of more than 200 alleging a link between the company’s talcum powder products and ovarian cancer, from returning to state court in St. Louis.
Johnson & Johnson had removed the three lawsuits to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri claiming the lawsuits were “mass actions” that belonged in federal court. But federal judges overseeing the lawsuits found otherwise, and ordered the lawsuits should stay in state court where they were filed.
Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against the consumer health care giant claiming that women who use talc-containing products, including Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, on their genitals for personal hygiene are at an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. The lawsuits allege that studies dating back decades showed a link between genital use of talcum powder products and ovarian cancer, and that Johnson & Johnson knew of these risks but refused to warn women.
Some researchers say that as many as 10 percent – or about 2,000 – new cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed each year could be linked to genital use of talcum powder products.
Deane Berg filed the first lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson alleging regular use of the company’s Shower to Shower talcum powder product on her genitals led to her ovarian cancer diagnosis. A jury in October 2013 found Johnson & Johnson was aware of this risk and should have warned women. However, the company refused to add warnings to the labels of its products that contain talcum powder.