Johnson & Johnson continues to be at the center of lawsuits as it awaits 1,200 pending cases regarding its talcum powder-based products. The past four months have been long coming for the company, being found liable in two talcum powder lawsuits which ordered the company to pay a total of $127 million dollars in damages to the victims. The question remains whether Johnson & Johnson will accept responsibility for their wrongdoing and pay the verdicts entered against them by community juries, or continue to frustrate the lives of those they harmed with needless appeals.
Communities Are Holding Johnson & Johnson Responsible
Many predict that Johnson & Johnson will only face future troubles in the courtroom as the liability and negligence verdicts are likely to continue as a trend. The trend results in the benefits of having a jury. Members of a jury have emotions, and most importantly they do not like the feeling of being taken advantage of. Many share similar feelings that Johnson & Johnson took the easy way out by not placing warning labels of talcum powder’s potential dangers on their baby powder containers. It seems like such an easy fix for many; however, for Johnson & Johnson it would mean taking back their promises to consumers that all of their products are completely safe. Johnson & Johnson has continued to stand by their statements that talc has no safety concerns and claim that there is no definitive link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder, despite juries finding otherwise.
Numerous studies have weighed in on the topic as well. Each study contains its own flaws ranging from bias to misrepresentation. However, many believe even the possibility of an association between talcum powder and ovarian cancer warrants a public warning and for the pharmaceutical company to be held accountable for putting consumers in potential harm’s way. Many women have used Johnson & Johnson baby powder all of their lives for hygienic purposes, thinking nothing of potential dangers because they were using the product as advertised. These women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer no longer see the talcum powder as a potential danger but as an actual danger with costly effects.
False Claims By Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson advertisements are also currently in the spotlight. Internal memos and studies have found that Johnson & Johnson specifically targeted African American and Hispanic women. African American women have a higher susceptibility to contract ovarian cancer from talcum powder than other races, and since advertisements were directed at these women, they make up a large proportion of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder users. In addition, a great deal of studies underrepresented African American women, which may contribute to the mixed results. Many feel targeted by Johnson & Johnson for putting them at risk for this horrific disease. The cards were seemingly stacked against them.
Dr. Daniel Cramer published a study in 1982, which provided statistical significance linking the talcum powder to ovarian cancer. That study was strong enough to raise concern at Johnson & Johnson, who sent an executive official to discuss the study with Dr. Cramer. This means that Johnson & Johnson had knowledge of this dangerous link between the baby powder and cancer since at least the time of this meeting. Since then, however, Johnson & Johnson has made no actions in regards to the use of the talcum powder.
This lack of response is drastically different from their actions in similar circumstances. Such instance occurred in 2012 when studies gave reason to believe that formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane found in Johnson & Johnson’s baby shampoos were probable carcinogens. At that point, Johnson & Johnson released a statement announcing the promise to remove any harmful chemicals from their products to ensure consumer safety. Johnson & Johnson promptly removed formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane from all products. Four years later, many women are still waiting for Johnson & Johnson to take the same action on their baby powder. Until then, there are sure to be many more lawsuits in Johnson & Johnson’s future.
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