In the news: ovarian cancer and talcum powder

13 July 2018
Talcum powder

Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay $4.7bn (£3.6bn) in damages to women who claim the company’s baby powder and other talcum powder products caused them to develop ovarian cancer. Our Chief Executive Cary Wakefield explains why today’s news is no cause for alarm. 

A jury in Missouri has ordered J&J to award 22 women billions of dollars’ worth of compensation over serious health allegations.  The verdict was delivered after a six-week trial that examined the claims of women and their families that they developed ovarian cancer after using baby powder and other talc products for decades. 

This is the latest legal development in a long-running health controversy that has challenged the pharmaceutical company.

In light of this news, Our CEO Cary Wakefield advises women who have used these products not to panic. 

“Given evidence is inconsistent we do advocate a ‘better safe than sorry’ attitude and advise that women using talc on their genitals stop doing so. But it’s important to remember that the suggested increased risk from using talcum powder is very small.

“While the relative increase of a third suggested by some studies sounds significant, the absolute risk of getting ovarian cancer still remains very low. We’re talking about the difference between a 2% risk and a risk of 2.5%.”