Johnson & Johnson’s Talc Cover-Up: a Policy Decades in the Making

Johnson & Johnson’s Talc Cover-Up- a Policy Decades in the MakingIn 1971, British researchers found talc particles deeply embedded in 10 of 13 ovarian tumors. Their results were the first indication of a potential link between the mineral and ovarian cancer. Eleven years later, an epidemiologist named Daniel Cramer published a study in Cancer that showed a statistical link between genital talc use and ovarian cancer.

According to a report in Bloomberg:

“Soon after, Cramer received a call from Bruce Semple, an executive at J&J. The two met in Boston. ‘Dr. Semple spent his time trying to convince me that talc use was a harmless habit, while I spent my time trying to persuade him to consider the possibility that my study could be correct and that women should be advised of this potential risk of talc,’ Cramer, [an]… expert and witness for the plaintiffs, said in a 2011 court filing. ‘I don’t think this was a question of money,’ he says now. ‘I think it was pride of ownership. Baby Powder is a signature product for J&J.”

That little anecdote defines Johnson & Johnson’s position on the talc controversy. Talc poses an inhalation risk, but J&J has successfully buried the possible risk of ovarian cancer for years. Their efforts were aided by the fact that talc powder is considered a cosmetic, and is therefore only loosely regulated by the US Food & Drug Administration.

The company has known about the issue for years and failed to act. The simple compromise of labeling talc products with a warning regarding possible risk could have averted years of litigation and the ensuing media circus. Instead, J&J stubbornly refuses to admit even the possibility of a link. Current information on their website purports to educate consumers about the safety of talc while disregarding pending litigation, even though two different juries found J&J liable for negligence and failure to warn women of potential risk.

Bad policies affect real people

Johnson & Johnson’s refusal to acknowledge the health concerns of consumers may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Two verdicts have been returned in favor of the plaintiff, and more than 1200 suits are pending around the country. These suits represent real people. One woman lost her health insurance after her ovarian cancer treatments exceeded the policy limits; she had to skip her last chemotherapy session. Thankfully, she survived her ordeal, but others aren’t so lucky.

If you or a loved one has been fallen ill because of defective drug or product, you may be entitled to compensation. The experienced South Carolina defective drug attorneys at McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips LLC can evaluate your case and help get you the compensation you deserve. Call 803-327-7800 or contact us today for a free consultation. We are currently taking cases throughout the country.