“If trusted corporations deceive the American people, they need to be punished – not because their products cause cancer – but because they must be held accountable if people believe they have violated the public trust,” said Milton Packer, M.D., in an editorial in MedPage Today.
Dr. Packer posed the question, “Why did a jury deliver a $4.69 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson,” and side with 22 women who sued the company alleging its Johnson’s Baby Powder contained cancer-causing asbestos that contributed to their ovarian cancer diagnosis?
Dr. Packer’s theory? “The verdict had little to do with whether talc causes ovarian cancer.” They were mad because the consumer health care giant deceived them by not telling them that its talc-containing products were contaminated with asbestos.
Talc, like asbestos, is a mineral. Both are mined from the earth in similar fashion and often in close proximity to each other, meaning it is feasible for asbestos to be unearthed with talc. Asbestos is a proven carcinogen.
Last month, Reuters published an article saying it uncovered evidence that Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that its baby powder contained asbestos. Yet, “company executives, mine managers, scientists, doctors and lawyers fretted over the problem and how to address it while failing to disclose it to regulators or the public,” according to Reuters.
If the news story is true and J&J knew its talc could be toxic to humans but failed to notify federal regulators or warn consumers, then it would be a huge breach of public trust. Perhaps this is the rage felt by the jurors who handed down the multi-billion-dollar verdict against Johnson & Johnson, Dr. Packer mused.
“For the record, I am not an expert on talc, asbestos, or ovarian cancer. And I am not involved in any way with the current J&J litigation concerning baby powder,” he wrote. “So why did a jury deliver a $4.69 billion verdict against J&J? I think the (jurors) wanted to send a clear message: If trusted corporations deceive the American people, they need to be punished.”
Source: MedPage Today