Johnson & Johnson, seeking to head off claims by thousands of women that its iconic baby powder caused their cancer, took aim at some of the science cited in lawsuits alleging the company’s talc-based products were tainted in the past with asbestos.
During a hearing Wednesday, lawyers for the world’s largest maker of healthcare products questioned the procedures used by Dr. William Longo, who tested talcum powder for asbestos. J&J hopes a judge will bar Longo from testifying for the women suing the company in cases consolidated in federal court in Trenton, N.J.
J&J said Longo and other expert witnesses for plaintiffs used unreliable methods to conclude the talc products once contained asbestos — a carcinogen — and that exposure could cause ovarian cancer. If U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson buys J&J’s arguments and knocks out some or all of the plaintiffs’ experts, that would hamstring about 12,000 pending cases.
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