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Supplier Settles Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Lawsuits


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ovarian organ diagram and talc powder

Johnson & Johnson’s talc supplier has settled talcum powder lawsuits brought by 22 women. The complaints allege talcum powder caused ovarian cancer.

Imerys Talc America will pay the women at least $5 million, according to Bloomberg. The news outlet cites two people familiar with the matter. The remaining terms of the settlement were not disclosed

The settlement came just before jury selection began Monday in the trial involving claims by all 22 women. The women say using Johnson & Johnson consumer talc products caused their ovarian cancer.

The St. Louis trial involves lead plaintiff Gail Lucile Ingham of O’Fallon, Missouri. The parties expect opening statements Wednesday. The trial is expected to last until the middle of July.

Imerys emailed a statement to Drugwatch on Monday confirming the settlement.

“Imerys has reached a resolution with the 22 Ingham plaintiffs and is being dismissed from the action,” the statement said. It did not give further details.

Johnson & Johnson faces more than 9,000 talcum powder lawsuits. The number comes from a recent filing with the U.S. Securitimentes and Exchange Commission.

Nearly 7,000 of the cases are consolidated in federal court in New Jersey under a multidistrict litigation (MDL). The remaining cases are in state courts, primarily in Missouri, New Jersey and California.

Diagnosed with ovarian cancer after talcum powder use? Get a Free Case Review

The vast majority of cases relate to claims that talcum powder products caused ovarian cancer. That includes all the cases in the MDL.

A small, but growing, number of lawsuits assert that talcum powder contains asbestos. People who say using talcum powder products caused mesothelioma are filing those lawsuits. Mesothelioma is a rare, deadly cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

Trials involving both types of cancer have ended in mixed results. Some juries have handed up verdicts in favor of the powder makers. Others have rendered multi-million-dollar verdicts for consumers.

A jury in New Jersey awarded Stephen Lanzo $117 million in his mesothelioma case. Imerys said it would appeal.

“While ITA deeply sympathizes with those affected by all forms of cancer, this decision is inconsistent with a great deal of science establishing the safety of talc, including a recently published study of workers who mined and milled talc,” Imerys Talc America said in a statement. “It is also inconsistent with previous juries addressing the same issues, which did not find ITA’s products contained asbestos or caused any disease.”

Imerys’ portion of that award was $36.1 million. The jury apportioned the rest to Johnson & Johnson.

More About the $117 Million Talc Verdict

Until now, all trials involving Johnson & Johnson powders have included Imerys as a defendant. With the settlement, Johnson & Johnson will go it alone.

“Rather than warn consumers, Johnson & Johnson has worked with industry lobbyists to deny this evidence and the more than 20 other credible clinical studies that have found an increased risk of ovarian cancer among women who use talc for feminine hygiene,” said plaintiffs’ law firm, Lanier Law Firm, in a news release. “Those studies include reports by the United States Toxicology Program and the World Health Organization classifying talc as a human carcinogen.”

Johnson & Johnson maintains that its talc products are safe. The company says the powders have undergone rigorous testing. Among other things, Johnson & Johnson attorneys point out that the Food and Drug Administration does not require warnings on talcum powder.

Elaine Silvestrini
Written By Elaine Silvestrini Writer

Elaine Silvestrini is an award-winning journalist with 30 years of experience covering state and federal court systems. She joined Drugwatch in 2017. Her coverage for Drugwatch has been cited in the CDC’s Public Health Law News and the USA Today Network. Some of her qualifications include:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention certificates in Health Literacy
  • Experience as an assistant investigator for the Federal Public Defender
  • Loyola Law School Journalist Law School Fellowship
Edited By
Emily Miller
Emily Miller Managing Editor

6 Cited Research Articles writers follow rigorous sourcing guidelines and cite only trustworthy sources of information, including peer-reviewed journals, court records, academic organizations, highly regarded nonprofit organizations, government reports and interviews with qualified experts. Review our editorial policy to learn more about our process for producing accurate, current and balanced content.

  1. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. (2018, May 1). Form 10-Q. Johnson & Johnson. Retrieved
  2. U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. (2018, May 15). MDL Statistics Report – Distribution of Pending MDL Dockets by Actions Pending. Retrieved
  3. Fisk, M.C. and Feeley, J. (2018, June 1). Imerys Unit Settles Talc Claims for at Least $5 million. Retrieved
  4. Imerys Talc America. (2018, April 12). Imerys Talc America Inc. (ITA) to appeal verdict in Lanzo trial. Retrieved
  5. Imerys Talc America. (2018, June 4). Email to Drugwatch.
  6. Lanier Law Firm. (2018, June 4). Press release emailed to Drugwatch.
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