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    Feb 24, 2016

    J&J ordered to pay $101m to family of cancer victim


    UNITED States healthcare producer Johnson & Johnson (J&J) must pay US$72 million (S$101 million) to the family of a woman who blamed her fatal ovarian cancer on the company's talcum powder, in the first state-court case over the claims to go to trial.

    Jurors in St Louis on Monday concluded that J&J should pay US$10 million in compensatory damages and US$62 million in a punishment award to the family of Jackie Fox, reported Bloomberg.

    The Alabama resident died of ovarian cancer last year at the age of 62 after using Johnson's baby powder - which might be talc-free - and Shower to Shower - a talc-based feminine hygiene powder - for years.

    It is the first time a US jury has ordered J&J to pay damages over claims that it knew decades ago that its talc-based products could cause cancer and failed to warn consumers.

    The Fox suit, whose trial began on Feb 2, was among 1,000 filed against J&J in Missouri while another 130 would be heard in New Jersey, the company's home state, reported the New Brunswick Today newspaper.

    Like in the Fox suit, the plaintiffs also contend the company knew of the studies linking its Baby Powder and its Shower to Shower product to ovarian cancer.

    "It was really clear they were hiding something," said jury foreman Krista Smith. "All they had to do was put a warning label on."

    Allen Smith, a lawyer for Ms Fox's family, said: "It was a just verdict given the horrible conduct of J&J."

    Talc is used in products as varied as wallboard and the powder that keeps elastic balloons from sticking together.

    Corn starch has been widely substituted for talc as an absorbent in baby powder and feminine hygiene products.

    But J&J, which introduced a baby powder using corn starch in the 1970s, continues to offer products that include talc and maintains the substance is safe.