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Lawsuit Alleges That Johnson & Johnson Ramped Up Its Marketing Efforts Even As Evidence Increasingly Showed A Link Between Talcum Powder And Cancer


The legal concept of product liability means that, if you suffer an illness or injury as a direct result of using a consumer product for its intended purpose, you can sue the company that manufactures and markets the product if you can prove that the company was aware, of reasonably should have been aware, of the dangers inherent in the product.  In some cases, product liability lawsuits result not only in damages awards for injured plaintiffs but also in changes that protect the public, especially when the product in question is a medication or personal care product.  For example, the makers of Rely tampons pulled the product from the market in 1980 after lawsuits from women who developed toxic shock syndrome after using the products.  Acetaminophen-containing medicines display more prominent warning labels after patients suffer accidental overdoses by taking combinations of over-the-counter medicines (such as the maximum recommended daily doses Tylenol and Theraflu taken on the same day), unaware of how much acetaminophen they were consuming.  If you have been harmed by a prescription drug or over-the-counter health product, contact a South Florida product liability lawyer.

The Talcum Powder Lawsuits

Johnson & Johnson has settled more than 25,000 lawsuits from consumers who claimed that their cancer resulted from the use of the company’s talcum powder.  Many lawsuits are currently pending, and the company has dedicated nearly $4 billion to upcoming settlements.  In fact, the links between talcum powder and cancer are so great that the company has withdrawn its talcum powder from the North American market.  Some plaintiffs developed mesothelioma from accidental inhalation of talcum powder dust, but the majority of the plaintiffs are women who developed ovarian cancer after years of applying talcum powder to the external genital area or to their undergarments or sanitary napkins.

Johnson & Johnson Aggressively Marketed Talcum Powder to Black Women Despite Known Cancer Risk

In 2021, the National Council of Negro Women, which was founded in 1935 by Mary McLeod Bethune, filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, alleging that the company increasingly targeted Black women with its marketing efforts, even as evidence grew that talcum powder increases the risk of cancer, and it failed to warn them of the risks.  The lawsuit cites evidence including an internal memo at Johnson & Johnson encouraging marketing the products aggressively to Black women in their capacity as “high propensity consumers.”  In 2006, 60 percent of Black women had bought talcum powder in the past year, compared with only 30 percent of all consumers.  The lawsuit also cites a marketing campaign where Johnson & Johnson distributed free samples of talcum powder to Black church congregations in the Chicago area, as well as correspondence in which Johnson & Johnson considered inviting Black women celebrities such as Patti LaBelle and Aretha Franklin to act as spokeswoman for the company.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

A Florida pharmaceutical product lawyer can help you if a product at your local pharmacy caused you to develop a serious illness.  Contact Halpern Santos & Pinkert, P.A. for help with your case.



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