J&J Allegedly Delaying Talc Trial in Mississippi

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch has urged the United States Supreme Court justices to reject Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) petition to delay the state’s seven-year lawsuit that alleges that J&J failed to warn consumers about possible health risks associated with talcum powder and ovarian cancer, Law360.com reported.

The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled in April that the state’s lawsuit against the drug and consumer products giant is not preempted because of the fact that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) has not placed a warning label on cosmetic products that contain talcum powder.

Fitch suggested to the justices on Nov. 4 that J&J’s argument to the U.S. Supreme Court has no basis since Mississippi’s Supreme Court had already ruled on the specific issue about FDA rules and guidelines on cosmetic labeling laws.

In its petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, J&J stated that the Mississippi high court’s ruling “set two dangerous precedents.” The company claims that the court incorrectly analyzed the Federal Drug and Cosmetics Act and that FDA rules mandate a notice-and-comment period in order to preempt state law.

In her letter to the U.S. Supreme Court, Fitch wrote, “Just reading the Mississippi Supreme Court’s opinion shows that neither question that petitioners identify is presented.” She continued, “No matter what might be said about those questions, this case is not a vehicle for resolving them.”

Mississippi’s litigation against J&J over false advertising and insufficient labeling claims began in 2014. The state’s previous Attorney General, Jim Hood, sued the company for failing to notify Mississippi residents about scientific evidence linking the application of talcum powder to the female genital area with an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

More than 35,000 women who developed ovarian cancer, allegedly because of J&J’s talc products, have filed lawsuits nationwide.

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