Pharmacology and toxicology expert Dr Laura M. Plunkett has her Ph.D. in Pharmacology, served on the faculty of the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for several years and now works with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies on FDA and patent matters. In Missouri’s 22nd Circuit Court for St. Louis City on June 12, Plunkett testified on behalf of three women, all of whom died from ovarian cancer, following a lengthy time using Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based powders for feminine hygiene purposes. `` I’m going to talk about the evidence today, I don’t feel there’s any question about this at all, it’s taught in textbooks,” she said.
All three women were allegedly found to have talc in their ovaries. In her testimony, Plunkett explained how talc could “most likely” cause cancer by epigenetic effects, whereby talc molecules could enter cells and potentially alter the expression of genes in ways that could promote tumor growth. And long-term exposure to talc parties can cause inflammation, which in turn can cause cancer.
To date, Johnson & Johnson has prevailed in just one trial out of five.
• February 2016: jurors awarded Fox's estate $72 million.
• May 2016: plaintiff Gloria Ristesund was awarded $55 million
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• March 2017: Johnson & Johnson convinced a jury that plaintiff Nora Daniels’ ovarian cancer was not connected to her daily use of talcum powder over several decades
• May 2017: plaintiff Lois Slemp was awarded $110 million.
And now in June, this sixth trial is the first to involve multiple plaintiffs, and the jury will hear testimony involving three separate women. All plaintiffs claim the healthcare products giant was aware for a long time of research associating genital talc use to ovarian cancer. But J&J chose not to warn consumers and even went a step further: lawsuits allege the company participated in an intense lobbying campaign to make sure regulators did not designate talc a human carcinogen.