Jul 14, 2018

The big picture: Johnson & Johnson's $4.69 billion talcum powder lawsuit

Johnson & Johnson baby powder on a store shelf. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay $4.69 billion to 22 women who argued that using the powder contributed to their ovarian cancer, reports CNN.

The big picture: The women were the first to successfully argue that talcum powder contained asbestos and won the case leading to the largest verdict against the company to date.

The backdrop: Concerns behind talc's link to cancer first surfaced in 1971 and still persist today.

  • A judge overturned two rulings in 2017 in favor of plaintiffs against Johnson & Johnson where the company's powder product was accused of causing cancer.
  • Another California judge ruled in favor of the company when a woman linked her mesothelioma cancer to their talcum powder products.

The most recent verdict against the company marks a shift in the thinking behind talc and its alleged link to cancer.

What they're saying: Mark Lanier, the lawyer for the women in the case, accused Johnson & Johnson of covering up the link between cancer and talc for years. The link between talc and cancer has been debated for years with varying opinions on it.

The bottom line: The verdict in the latest landmark case against Johnson & Johnson may set a precedent for future cases and research in determining whether talc cancerous.

Go deeper

Trump goes full law-and-order

Photo: Tom Brenner/Reuters

President Trump's final decision to speak in the Rose Garden last evening as protests raged outside the gate was made only hours before, reflecting chaos on both sides of the fence.

Why it matters: Trump’s ultimate remarks fell where his instincts always were: blunt, brutal law and order, with extreme demonstrations of militarized “strength” and blustery threats.

Amid racial unrest, a test at the polls

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Eight states plus D.C. are holding primary elections today following a week of intense protests across the country over the brutal police killing of George Floyd.

Why it matters: It's the first major test for voting since the national outcry. Concerns over civil unrest and the police — as well as the coronavirus and expanded absentee voting — could reduce the number of voters showing up in person but heighten tensions for those who do.

Axios-Ipsos poll: America’s big racial divide on police, virus

Data: Ipsos/Axios survey; Note: ±3.2% margin of error; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

A new Axios-Ipsos poll finds that America has a massive racial gulf on each of our twin calamities — trust in police, and fear of the coronavirus.

  • 77% of whites say they trust local police, compared with just 36% of African Americans — one of many measures of a throbbing racial divide in Week 11 of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index, taken the week George Floyd was killed by a white policeman in Minneapolis.