Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay nearly $4.7bn in damages to 22 women who claim the company’s talcum powder contributed to them developing ovarian cancer (six of whom have died from ovarian cancer)

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Mark Lanier, the lead counsel for the women, six of whom have died from ovarian cancer, said Johnson & Johnson had covered up evidence of asbestos in its products for more than 40 years.

After a six-week trial at a court in St Louis, a jury awarded the women $4.14bn in punitive damages and $550m in compensatory damages.

Medical experts testified during the trial that asbestos, a known carcinogen, is mixed in with mineral talc, which is the primary ingredient in Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products.

Lawyers said asbestos fibres and talc particles were found in the ovarian tissues of many of the women.

Johnson & Johnson has been sued by more than 9,000 women who claim its talcum powder contributed to their ovarian cancer. The company has consistently denied that its products can be linked to the disease.

The company said it was deeply disappointed with the verdict, saying it was part of a “fundamentally unfair process” that grouped the women together and awarded them the same amount despite differences in their cases. It said it intended to appeal.

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