A Canadian class-action lawsuit has been filed against Johnson & Johnson over an alleged link between its baby powder products and ovarian cancer in adult women who used the product for long periods of time.
The suit's plaintiffs include seven women and family members living in Ontario and Quebec, and the estate of a Montreal woman who died of ovarian cancer in March at age 66.
Toronto law firms Rochon Genova LLP and Will Davidson LLP are handling the class-action against the Canadian subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
The suit alleges Johnson & Johnson was "negligent in the development, testing, design, manufacturing, licensing, distribution, marketing and sale of Johnson's Baby Powder."
The accusations in the class-action statement of claim have not been proven in court. Johnson & Johnson Canada said that it sympathized with the women and their families, but defended its baby powder.
"The talc in our baby powder has a long history of safe and gentle use," the company said in an emailed statement.
"After 30 years of studies by medical experts around the world, science, research and clinical evidence continues to support the safety of cosmetic talc .... We continue to believe in the safety of Johson's baby powder containing talc."
Johnson & Johnson also faces litigation in the United States.
The class-action suit follows a jury decision in Missouri that awarded US$72 million to the family of a woman who died of ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson feminine hygiene products for years that contained its talcum powder.
Earlier this month, Johnson & Johnson was ordered by another U.S. jury to pay US$55 million in damages to a woman who claimed her ovarian cancer was caused by long-term use of Johnson's baby powder.
The Canadian plaintiffs allege that Johnson's baby powder "is defective and inherently dangerous in that it causes, materially contributes to, and materially increases the risks of ovarian cancer in females who apply it (or who have it applied) to their perineal area."
The class-action suit also alleges that Johnson & Johnson knew about the dangers of its baby powder but "failed to disclose these defects and the resulting risks to the health and life of the plaintiffs" and failed to recall the product in Canada.
The lawsuit says requests for monetary compensation will come later.