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28 Mar, 2019 09:40

US drug company Johnson & Johnson cleared in latest talc cancer trial

US drug company Johnson & Johnson cleared in latest talc cancer trial

A New Jersey jury on Wednesday cleared Johnson & Johnson (J&J) of liability in a lawsuit by a man who alleged asbestos in the company’s talc-based products, including baby powder, caused his mesothelioma.

The jury in Middlesex County Superior Court found that the plaintiff Ricardo Rimondi hadn’t proved he was exposed to asbestos via the company’s baby powder.

Asbestos is a term for a group of minerals often found in talc, which is widely used in cosmetics. Exposure to it may increase risks of a number of diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Also on rt.com Johnson & Johnson must pay cancer-stricken woman $29mn in latest talcum trial

Rimondi’s lawyers argued during a month-long trial that years of exposure to products like baby powder had caused his mesothelioma (a cancer of the lining of the internal organs, which is associated with asbestos).

Monica Cooper of the Lanier Law Firm, which represents Rimondi, said in a statement that her team was “obviously disappointed by the outcome, particularly in light of the overwhelming scientific and documentary evidence supporting the claims of the Rimondi family that J&J’s talcum-based baby powder is laced with asbestos.”

The Lanier Law Firm has helped a group of 22 women with ovarian cancer successfully sue Johnson & Johnson in St. Louis. A jury there awarded the women $4.7 billion last year after they argued that the company had known for decades about the risk of asbestos in talc. J&J is appealing that decision.

Johnson & Johnson, which is facing some 13,000 talc-related lawsuits nationwide, denies that its talc causes cancer. The pharmaceutical company claims that numerous studies and tests by regulators worldwide have shown its talc to be safe and asbestos-free.

On Wednesday, the company settled three other mesothelioma talc cases pending in state courts in California, Oklahoma and New York. A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Chris Panatier, told Reuters about the settlements but declined to provide further details, citing confidentiality agreements.

Addressing the settlements, J&J said in a statement: “There are one-off situations where settlement is reasonable.”

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