Johnson & Johnson must pay $2.1 billion in damages to women who blamed their ovarian cancer on asbestos in the drug manufacturer’s baby powder after the US Supreme Court declined to review the case.
The verdict was the largest against the company, which has endured a wave of lawsuits and lost several cases as thousands of people claimed the products caused cancer. The appeal, dismissed on Tuesday, related to a 2018 Missouri case involving 22 women.
“The court’s decision not to review the Ingham case leaves unresolved important legal questions that state and federal courts will face,” said J&J, adding that “decades of independent scientific evaluations confirm that Johnson’s baby powder is safe.” and does not contain asbestos. , and does not cause cancer.”
Last year, the company said it would stop selling baby powder in the US and Canada after sales fell 60 percent in three years.
Supreme Court justices upheld a Missouri court ruling that the jury ordered J&J to pay $4.7 billion in damages, although that fine was later reduced to $2.12 billion.
In November, the Missouri State Court declined to hear J&J’s appeal and sent the case to the nation’s highest court. The drugmaker had argued that by bringing together several separate talcum powder-related claims for trial before a single jury, the trial had violated J&J’s rights under the US Constitution.
J&J’s stock price fell 1.6 percent in New York on Tuesday morning after it became clear it wouldn’t have a chance to make that argument and should instead pay the price.
Several major US business groups, including the Business Roundtable and the US Chamber of Commerce, had backed the company’s call.
Talcum powder is made from the mineral talc, which in its natural form contains asbestos, a substance that can cause cancer. The health sector agreed in 1976 to ensure that all talc products did not contain detectable levels of asbestos.