In the summer of 2018, Krystal Kim, a 53-year-old African-American woman, was one of the plaintiffs in a successful lawsuit against pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J). The jury in that trial awarded $4.69 billion to Kim and 21 others – all of whom are suffering from ovarian cancer or mesothelioma which they believe was caused by extensive use of J&J’s signature product, Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder.
The connection between J&J’s Baby Powder and cancer has been well documented. Looking back over the past 50 years, various studies, investigative reports, and testimony from many of its own scientists suggest that J&J knew their powders tested positive for asbestos, but simply chose to ignore the science and hide the data from the general public.
Internal Documents Show African-American Women Were Targets
What hasn’t been known, at least not until the findings of an investigative report by news service Reuters were revealed, is that Krystal Kim and many others like her were not simply random users of J&J’s Baby Powder. They were targets.
According to Reuters, J&J responded to declining sales of Baby Powder and increased concerns about the health effects of its powders by targeting two groups of the product’s most loyal users: African-American women and overweight women. An internal J&J presentation from 2006 flatly states that the company should focus its marketing efforts on “under-developed geographical areas with hot weather and higher AA [African-American] population.”
J&J Put Marketing Plan into Action
In the following years, internal documents show that J&J turned these plans into action. The company distributed J&J Baby Powder samples through churches and beauty salons in African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods and launched a $300,000 advertising campaign in a half dozen markets nationwide, targeting “curvy Southern women, 18-49, and skewing African-American.”
J&J also ran digital and print promotions with weight loss and wellness company Weight Watchers. This campaign included ads in Weight Watchers Magazine and promotions through the Lane Bryant clothing chain for plus-size women and Curves, a women’s fitness and weight-loss franchise.
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Cancer Victims Are Taking Their Claims to Court – And Winning
Today, the women who were targeted by J&J – including many of our clients – make up most of the 13,000 plaintiffs who charge that J&J’s Baby Powder caused their ovarian cancer or mesothelioma.
If you are suffering from ovarian cancer and suspect it may have been caused by talcum powder or other talc products produced by J&J, please contact our office today. All consultations are free and you pay nothing unless we win.