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Home » Criminal Law » Johnson & Johnson Pays $72M For Cancer-Causing Baby Powder

Johnson & Johnson Pays $72M For Cancer-Causing Baby Powder

A baby stares angrily at camera next to cancer-causing baby powderThat’s right, folks! If you weren’t already aware of the various lawsuits aimed at Johnson & Johnson, then consider yourself warned: their baby powder gave a woman ovarian cancer that killed her. In other words, time to switch to Goldbond.

The verdict was announced on Monday night, after a Missouri state jury decided that Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based powders caused the death of Jacqueline Fox. And guess what? This case is just one of hundreds!

Blame It On The Greed

If you’re going to get anywhere in life, in our society, you’re going to need money. The more the better. And watch out, because you’re going to have a little healthy competition: literally everybody. Welcome to capitalism!

Don’t get me wrong — I love capitalism. There is a lot to appreciate. The problem is NO economic system, no matter how effective in theory, can escape the simple fact of human greed. It wasn’t the theory of socialism that made the Soviet Union, shall we say, “undesirable.” It was the people who exploited it. Having the government control means of production wouldn’t be a problem if the people running the government could be trusted to be less… well, human.

Johnson & Johnson have provided an excellent demonstration of how capitalism is not exempt from exploitation. Businesses need money to survive. Actually, “survive” isn’t the right word — businesses aren’t just trying to stay open, they’re trying to grow. Johnson & Johnson is a business. Johnson & Johnson wants to get as big as possible so the people running it can have as much money as possible. To get big and make money, Johnson & Johnson has to keep consumers buying their products, while at the same time spending as little money as possible.

This brings us to the cancer-causing baby powder. As a successful business, Johnson & Johnson knows that consumers don’t want to buy products that give them cancer. So, when they learned that their baby powder had the potential to cause cancer, they had to reconcile that fact with the capitalist objective of spending as little money as possible.

Recalling products is expensive. Fixing them is also expensive, and there’s also no guarantee that they’d be able to concoct a version of baby powder that both maintains their standard of quality AND isn’t composed of ingredients that cause cancer. What if Johnson & Johnson poured valuable resources into a “safer” baby powder and it wasn’t as effective or popular as their “unsafe” baby powder?

A moral response to that question might sound something like, “safety first, then profit.” A strictly economical response, on the other hand, would be more along the lines of, “as much safety as can be afforded.” Clearly, Johnson & Johnson leaned toward the latter perspective — due to, hey, they’re a business. They crossed their fingers, closed their eyes, and bet heavily against the possibility of actual consequences. Then they waited, and lost.

Fraud! Negligence! Conspiracy!

These are the crimes for which Johnson & Johnson are guilty, according to jurors in the circuit court of St. Louis. Apparently, it is against the law to hide the fact that you’re selling something that causes cancer.

Here’s how each of the charges apply to this ruling:

Fraud occurs when the truth is misrepresented in order to trick another person into taking a certain action. Johnson & Johnson committed fraud when they concealed the fact that their baby powder causes cancer.

Negligence refers to behavior that demonstrates unreasonable risk at the expense of others. Johnson & Johnson acted with negligence by omitting information crucial to the safety of consumers, who were not warned that using their baby powder could lead to cancer.

Conspiracy is when at least two people consent to criminal behavior in order to reach a specific goal. Johnson & Johnson, as a company that knowingly concealed their product’s potential for harm, committed criminal conspiracy pretty much by default. Obviously, more than one person is involved the Johnson & Johnson operation — the company is unquestionably large.

You might have noticed that the charges overlap one another in a few ways. And you’re right.

Fighting Criminal Charges

At Turner Law Offices, P.C., our team of attorneys has years of experience working with clients across a wide range of cases involving the aforementioned criminal charges. In preparing a solid defense, it doesn’t pay to take chances — legal representation should be sought as soon as possible in order to ensure the highest likelihood of a satisfactory resolution. Call today, or go online to set up your free initial consultation, and meet with a skilled lawyer who’s ready and waiting to guid you toward the justice you deserve.

(615) 259-2660

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