9:03 AM, Mar 14, 2019 — Shares of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) fell marginally in pre-bell trade on Thursday after the company was reportedly ordered to pay $29.4 million to a woman who said she got mesothelioma, a form of cancer, after using company products that contained asbestos.
Terry Leavitt said she used Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, both of which contained talc, in the 1960s and 1970s. She was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a form of cancer which is related to asbestos exposure, in 2017, according to news reports. More than a dozen suits have been filed against the company, which maintains that its products do not contain asbestos.
The suits came after Reuters reported in December that the company’s talcum-based products contained asbestos and that the company knew – something which Johnson & Johnson has said is not true.
Shares were down 1.7% in pre-market trading Thursday.
Johnson & Johnson said in December that the Reuters article was “one-sided, false, and inflammatory” and that its baby powder is safe and doesn’t contain asbestos. It cited studies of more than 100,000 people that showed talc doesn’t cause cancer and independent tests that show its products never contained asbestos.
A Johnson & Johnson spokesperson said in a statement to Courtroom View Network, which aired the trial, that there were procedural and evidentiary problems in the proceedings that required the company to move for a mistrial eight times. The company plans to appeal.
“Plaintiffs’ attorneys have fundamentally failed to show that Johnson’s Baby Powder contains asbestos, and their own experts concede that they are not recognizing the accepted definition of asbestos and are ignoring crucial distinctions between minerals that are asbestos and minerals that are not,” Spokesperson Kimberly Montagino said. “We respect the legal process and reiterate that jury verdicts are not medical, scientific or regulatory conclusions about a product.”
Companies: Johnson & Johnson
Price: 136.86 Price Change: -2.55 Percent Change: -1.83