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Johnson & Johnson shares slip after California jury orders it to pay $29 million in latest talcum cancer trial

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In this photo illustration, a container of Johnson's baby powder made by Johnson and Johnson sits on a table in San Francisco, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

In this photo illustration, a container of Johnson’s baby powder made by Johnson and Johnson sits on a table in San Francisco, California.

Johnson & Johnson shares were down Thursday after the company was ordered by a California jury to pay $29 million to a woman who alleged that asbestos in the company’s talcum-powder-based products caused her cancer.

It was the latest defeat for J&J, which is facing thousands of similar lawsuits. The company denies allegations that its talc causes cancer, saying numerous studies and tests by regulators worldwide have shown that its talc is safe and asbestos-free.

The New Jersey-based company said it will appeal the verdict, which was made in California Superior Court in Oakland.

“We respect the legal process and reiterate that jury verdicts are not medical, scientific or regulatory conclusions about a product,” J&J said in a statement. “We are disappointed with [Wednesday’s] verdict and will pursue an appeal because Johnson’s Baby Powder does not contain asbestos or cause cancer.”

J&J faces more than 13,000 talc-related lawsuits. A Los Angeles jury last year awarded $21.7 million to a woman who blamed her cancer on the powder. J&J also lost a motion to reverse a jury verdict in Missouri that awarded more than $4 billion to 22 women who blamed their ovarian cancer on asbestos in the company’s products.

J&J relaunched its iconic namesake baby product line last summer to reverse a decline in J&J’s baby care unit. While trusted for decades, the 124-year-old brand had fallen out of touch with consumers, namely millennial moms, who opted instead for cleaner, natural products from trendy upstart brands.

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