After receiving a testimony from Johnson & Johnson’s CEO Alex Gorsky himself, a jury in New Jersey has ordered the company to pay USD 750 million to four people who accused their baby powder of being carcinogenic. The testimony given by Gorsky was the first instance when he took a stand in any jury trial over accusations against his company’s baby powder. Chris Placitella, lawyer of the four people who filed the lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson stated that they believe the Jury had spoken directly to the company’s CEO.
The plaintiffs in this case stated that they suffered mesothelioma, a form of cancer that affects the linings of the lungsafter using the company’s talcum powder. This is not the first instance though, identical lawsuits have been filed by over 16,000 people before this. The lawsuits filed accused that the company’s talcum powder gave them mesothelioma or ovarian cancer and that the company had given no intimation or warning for any such side effect. The New Jersey based Johnson & Johnson will however only be paying only USD 185 million due to a state law that limits punitive damages of being a maximum of five times of compensatory damages in any case. A separate jury had awarded compensatory damages worth USD 37.2 million in an earlier trial of the case. Johnson & Johnson have stated that they’ll appeal against both the phases of hearing.
Johnson & Johnson had recently announced that the company had started working on a vaccine against the deadly coronavirus that has killed over 800 people in China so far, including an American. The company had also donated its HIV drug Prezcobixto China to help the country’s research aimed at developing a drug that can help control the outbreak.
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