Updated 08 May 2017

Jury awards record-setting sum in baby powder lawsuit

A woman won a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, alleging that using the company's baby powder caused her to develop ovarian cancer.


"Excessive litigation" in America creates enormous costs for companies – especially small businesses, many of which can go bankrupt due to a single suit, and according to a new poll sponsored by the Institute for Legal Reform, 87% of voters think that the number of lawsuits in the country is a problem.

Diagnosed with ovarian cancer

A St. Louis jury has awarded a Virginia woman a record-setting $110.5 million (R137.15 million) in the latest lawsuit alleging that using Johnson & Johnson's baby powder caused cancer.

The jury ruling for 62-year-old Lois Slemp, of Wise, Virginia, comes after three previous St. Louis juries awarded a total of $197 million (R226.24 million) to plaintiffs who made similar claims.

Slemp was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. It has since spread to her liver. She blamed her cancer on her use of the company's talcum-containing products for more than 40 years. About 2 000 women nationwide have filed similar suits over concerns about health damage caused by extended talcum powder use.

Johnson & Johnson said in a statement that it would appeal, and disputed the scientific evidence behind the plaintiffs' allegations.

The number of medical malpractice suits in South Africa are increasing and according to the Medical Protection Society (MPS), the largest indemnity backer of healthcare professionals in South Africa, its members experienced a rise of 30% in the average number of claims from 2007 to 2011.

Read more:

Does baby powder cause ovarian cancer?

Baby product scare

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