“I am proud of our lawyers who have worked tirelessly on behalf of women who are fighting or lost their fight with ovarian cancer they developed after using Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products,” firm founder Jere Beasley said. “We are pleased that National Council of Negro Women will be joining the efforts to raise awareness and help in achieving justice for the women who were targeted by such unscrupulous marketing tactics.”
In 2013, Jacqueline (Jackie) Fox, who was a cousin to Rosa Parks, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, linked to her daily use of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder in the genital area. Beasley Allen represented Ms. Fox who became one of the first plaintiffs to go to trial against Johnson & Johnson. Beasley Allen uncovered internal Johnson & Johnson documents detailing the company’s strategy to intentionally target women, especially women of color, with deceptive marketing schemes. They concocted a marketing scheme preying on the cultural tradition of women of color using talcum powder. The campaign intentionally misled consumers with biased information about the safety of its products and then used its influence over governmental and regulatory bodies to prevent regulators from classifying talc as a carcinogen.
Specifically, the team discovered a 1992 memo documenting the company’s analysis of marketing opportunities and obstacles for its talc-based products. The memo encouraged Johnson & Johnson to “investigate ethnic opportunities to grow the franchise.”
Additionally, in the early 2000s, Johnson & Johnson created a task force with the sole mission of increasing sales of its talc product. The task force made similar findings to the market research data detailed in the 1992 memo. It concluded that “African American consumers, in particular, will be a good target with more of an emotional feeling and talk about reunions among friends, etc., team up with Ebony Magazine.”
Ms. Fox lost her battle with ovarian cancer shortly before her trial began in October 2015. Her family was proud to continue her fight and raise awareness about Johnson & Johnson’s efforts to target black women.
“Ms. Fox and her family have intended, from the beginning, to expose the harm caused by talc and the deceitful actions of a corporate giant so that other women will not have to endure the same pain and shame of unknowingly exposing themselves to potentially deadly products. Ms. Fox had the character and courage to stand up for what she believed in just like her cousin Rosa Parks. She fought this corporation who cares more about its profits than it does about its own customers. In fact, their internal documents show they specially targeted black women to increase their profit” said firm founder Jere Beasley.