The Supreme Court denied Johnson & Johnson’s request to review a multibillion-dollar verdict in a lawsuit where women claimed the company’s talcum powder products led to the development of ovarian cancer, according to pending orders dated June 1, 2021.

On May 31, 2021, Johnson & Johnson petitioned the Court to look into the case because the company said it didn’t get a fair trial. The next day, the Court declined to hear its petition.

The lawsuit at issue involved 22 women who said the company’s baby powder and other talc-containing products contained asbestos and were responsible for their ovarian cancer.

In 2018, a Missouri jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $4.7 billion, though the verdict was later reduced to $2.12 billion.

Judge Rex M. Burlison said trial evidence showed “particularly reprehensible conduct on the part of Defendants,” Forbes reported. The company targeted babies and mothers with their products despite knowing the potential harm, he added.

Johnson & Johnson recalled 33,000 bottles of talc-based baby powder in October 2019 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found small levels of asbestos in test samples. Then, the healthcare giant stopped selling its talc products in the United States and Canada in May 2020.

Supreme Court’s Denial Reinforces J&J’s ‘Tenuous Position’

This is the second time Johnson & Johnson has tried and failed to appeal the $2.12 billion jury verdict. The Missouri Supreme Court also refused to hear the company’s appeal back in November 2020.

The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the appeal could put pressure on Johnson & Johnson to resolve other talcum powder lawsuits, according to trial attorney Trent B. Miracle.

“The Supreme Court refusing to take up the matter reinforces the tenuous position in which J&J has found themselves in this litigation,” Miracle, head of Simmons Hanly Conroy’s Pharmaceutical Litigation Group, told Drugwatch. “Upholding that verdict will put tremendous pressure on J&J to find a way to settle all viable cases currently filed nationally.”

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J&J: Lawsuits Based on ‘Junk Science’

In April 2020, Johnson & Johnson filed a motion to toss out thousands of lawsuits on the basis that the link between talc and ovarian cancer was “junk science.”

Judge Freda Wolfson denied the motion and found the claims were scientifically plausible, according to Miracle. Experts on both sides will present the science and a jury will decide what they believe at trial, he said.

In April 2021, Judge Wolfson signed off on six cases that will advance to the next stage of discovery to prepare for trial.

Johnson & Johnson still faces more than 33,500 talcum powder lawsuits in federal court in New Jersey as of May 17, 2021.