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.

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Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucus

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders waves to supporters at a campaign rally on Friday in Las Vegas. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders is projected to handily win the Nevada Democratic primary caucus, becoming the clear frontrunner among 2020 Democratic presidential primary election candidates.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state with a diverse population to hold a nominating contest, highlighting candidates' abilities to connect with voters of color — particularly Latino voters.

South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting these are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the United States.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel and Lebanon, while Iran reported its sixth death from the virus. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 Friday to 433 on Saturday and Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 by Saturday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health

America's rundown roads add to farmers' struggles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.