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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

2 hours ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Obama speechwriter fears Biden unity drive is one-sided

Cody Keenan (right) is shown heading to Marine One in December 2009. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.

What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."