Tag Archives: Johnson and Johnson

$417 Million Awarded in Lawsuit Against Johnson & Johnson

Johnson’s Baby Powder is a product that is found in almost every house. It’s a baby product, popular and has a lovely scent. What could possibly be the damage? You’ll be surprised.

In a recent lawsuit, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $417 million in damages, to a woman who claimed she developed ovarian cancer after using the company’s well known Johnson’s Baby Powder on her abdomen for a prolonged period of time.

The plaintiff, Eva Echeverria, a 63-year-old medical receptionist and a resident of East LA is yet another person in the long list of people who have previously taken legal action against Johnson’s Baby Powder. This lawsuit and all similar ones are based on the studies that link talcum powder to ovarian and cervical tumors.

There have been other lawsuits against the company where the decision has also gone in the plaintiff’s favor. These include a $110 million verdict in favor of a woman from Virginia; a $55 million verdict for another plaintiff from Missouri and a $72 million verdict to a woman who unfortunately died before her case was closed.

Ms. Echeverria was too sick to testify in court so she had to send a videotape of her testimony which stated that she had been using the product since she was 11 and continued even after her diagnosis with ovarian cancer in 2007, unaware that it may actually be the cause of her cancer. The only reason she stopped using the product was when she heard another woman’s lawsuit against the company for the same reason. Ms. Echeverria claims she wanted to raise awareness for other women; she wasn’t doing it for herself but her goal was to ensure that other women did not suffer the same fate that she had.

Many women use the Johnson Talc powder to avoid chafing, after the shower or sprinkle it on their sanitary pads. In defense of the company, Carol Goodrich, a spokeswoman for the company, said the company is planning to appeal the verdict to continue defending the safety of their products. She also stated that while the company realizes that ovarian cancer is a devastating diagnosis, the company sticks by its claim that Johnson’s Baby Powder is a safe product which is backed by science. The evidence was not sufficient to support any association between perineal talc exposure and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Johnson & Johnson Subsidiary Ortho-McNeil Pleads Guilty to Promoting Epilepsy Drug for Unapproved Uses; Settles Civil Suit for $75 Million

Ortho-McNeil, a unit of Johnson and Johnson, entered a guilty plea on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts to a misdemeanor for alleged illegal promoting of Topamax, a drug designed to treat epilepsy, for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, according to PR Newswire. The government alleged that Ortho-McNeil used a promotional program called the “Doctor for a Day Program” to promote Topamax for psychiatric uses, allegedly paying physicians, including psychiatrists, to accompany sales representatives on sales calls. The government claimed that Ortho-McNeil never applied for approval to use Topamax to treat psychiatric conditions and that there were no reliable clinical trials demonstrating that Topamax is safe and effective to treat psychiatric conditons.

The Court imposed a $6.14 million criminal fine on Ortho-McNeil. An affiliate of Ortho-McNeil, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, has agreed to pay $75 million to settle claims under the False Claims Act that it illegally promoted Topamax for psychiatric purposes and submitted alleged false claims to Medicare. Ortho-McNeil and Jassen also entered into a corporate integrity agreement with the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Promotion” of drugs by manufacturers for off-label uses is prohibited by the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. 331, 333. Physicians can, and frequently do, prescribe drugs for unapproved uses. In addition to epilepsy, Topamax has been prescribed for uses such as the treatment of headaches and for weight loss.