The National Council of Negro Women is the latest organization to take aim at one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, Johnson & Johnson. On behalf of the council, attorney Ben Crump and his team have filed a lawsuit alleging that the pharmaceutical endangered countless people by marketing "cancerous" talcum powder products directly to Black women.
"This lawsuit is about the lives of our grandmothers, our mothers, our wives, sisters and daughters -- all of the women who were cynically targeted by Johnson & Johnson," Crump said.
Crump's lawsuit primarily focuses on the use of talcum in several Johnson & Johnson products. Throughout his lawsuit, Crump cites several studies that link the use of talcum to ovarian powder. In addition, he claims to have obtained internal documents that support the studies the lawsuit cited. Making matters worse, the lawsuit alleges that Johnson & Johnson knew of the dangers of talcum as early as the 1960s. As time went on and information regarding the dangers of talcum became more readily available, Johnson & Johnson allegedly considered recruiting Aretha Franklin and Patti Labelle to market products to Black consumers on their behalf.
“Generations of Black women believed them and made it our daily practice to use their products in ways that put us at risk of cancer — and we taught our daughters to do the same. Shame on Johnson and Johnson," National Council of Negro Women Executive Director Janice Matthews told The Grio.
After filing the lawsuit, Crump and his colleagues held a press conference regarding the matter. He explained that he is filing multiple lawsuits in multiple states against the pharmaceutical giant. Crump also mentioned that a class-action lawsuit was filed against Johnson & Johnson about this matter, but many Black women were included in the legal effort.
Moving forward, Crump plans to ramp up the pressure by presenting more studies and evidence to the public. He also plans to put faces and names to the numbers presented in the studies included in the lawsuit.
“[We are going to] show the Black victims who have died because of this corporate greed," Crump added.
Johnson & Johnson has not issued a public statement in response to this matter.