J&J Hopes To Continue Appellate Streak Following Whopping $4.69bn Talc Verdict
This article was originally published in The Rose Sheet
Counsel for 22 women who blame J&J talcum powders for their ovarian cancer took a new approach in this latest case in St. Louis Circuit Court, arguing that asbestos in the firm’s talc is the culprit, rather than talc itself. J&J is confident in its ability to overturn the verdict, which it characterized as biased and unfounded.
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The Personal Care Products Council says talc-testing methods in the cosmetics industry must distinguish between carcinogenic asbestos and harmless non-asbestiform minerals, recalling its position against the FDA’s stab at rulemaking in 1973. However, the FDA is now arguing that elongate mineral particles of respirable dimensions are inherently dangerous, regardless of other considerations.
JP Morgan analysts had questions and J&J CEO Alex Gorsky and CFO Joseph Wolk had answers about liability suits alleging that use of the Johnson's brand talcum powder has caused mesothelioma or ovarian cancer. On the Johnson's brand outlook following its relaunch as a natural product line, Gorsky says sales were a key driver in the firm's consumer health sales in the 2018 third quarter. China, meanwhile, is a model for growing sales online, he says.
J&J shares are down nearly 12% since Reuters reported Dec. 14 that the firm has known for decades about toxic asbestos in its Johnson’s Baby Powder talc. The news outlet’s probe turned up nothing that hasn’t been raised by plaintiff attorneys, but throws the central issues of contention into high relief for its global audience.