Just think, products we have used for years, even generations, may be dangerous. That’s what a California jury determined in a recent case against drug company Johnson & Johnson. The case was one of thousands of lawsuits brought nationwide alleging the company failed to warn consumers of the risk of cancer from talc in its products.
Eva Echeverria of East Los Angeles is one of thousands of women who have sued the consumer products giant claiming baby power caused her ovarian cancer. In fact, the jury awarded punitive damages of $417 million in this case. She had been using the product for decades.
Baby power is used not only for babies, but by women to prevent chafing and for its freshening effect. This is one of the most used and trusted products ever sold.
And this law suit is not the only one. Other legal claims have been made against Johnson & Johnson, such as those in Missouri and South Dakota. Most of the decisions have gone against the company, the Missouri one resulted in damages of $307 million. More than 1,000 other people have filed similar lawsuits. Some who won their lawsuits won much lower amounts, illustrating how juries have wide latitude in awarding monetary damages.
Of course, the company is appealing, but the number of lawsuits is piling up, with only some having gone to trail, so far. In fairness, several suits have been dismissed.
But the significant success of suits, to the tune of millions of dollars in damages, raises serious questions about the product.
Even more importantly, these cases undermine public confidence in well-known and popular consumer products. It begs the question, who is looking out for the safety of people who rely on honest companies and government oversight to put safe, reliable and healthy products on the shelves?