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Report: Johnson & Johnson fails to reverse $4.69B talc verdict

Johnson & Johnson has lost a motion to reverse a jury verdict from July ordering the company to pay $4.69 billion in damages to 22 women who claim its talc product contained asbestos that led to their ovarian cancer, Reuters reported.

Judge Rex Burlison of the 22nd Circuit Court in St. Louis denied Johnson & Johnson's request for an appeal, according to a Dec. 19 report from Reuters. Additional details of the ruling were not immediately available.

The total award in the verdict from July 12 comprised $550 million in compensatory damages, $25 million to each plaintiff and $4.14 billion in punitive damages. The litigation is among about 11,700 similar lawsuits faced by the world's largest healthcare company by market value. It has won several of those cases, and others have resulted in mistrials.

The New Brunswick, N.J.-based company was the subject of an investigation released Dec. 14 by Reuters alleging that the healthcare giant covered up its knowledge of carcinogens in its baby powder. The news outlet reported that Johnson & Johnson was aware of the impurity as early as the 1950s and eluded regulation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market the powder despite the risks.

Amid fallout from the report, Johnson & Johnson repurchased $5 billion of its common stock after losing $25 billion in market value in one day.

The company called the report "one-sided, false and inflammatory" and has denied that the product is unsafe.