Wednesday, 19 June, 2024
HomeResearch IssuesJ&J claims fraud in paper linking talc to mesothelioma

J&J claims fraud in paper linking talc to mesothelioma

A key paper linking talc-based baby powder to cancer allegedly contains fraudulent information, according to a new complaint against an author of the article who has testified on behalf of plaintiffs, reports Retraction Watch.

A judge had previously allowed the release of a document confirming the identity of one of the patients in the article, who had claimed her only exposure to asbestos was in baby powder, contrary to the authors’ claim that the cases in the series had no other exposures.

The paper, “Mesothelioma Associated With the Use of Cosmetic Talc,” was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in January 2020. It has been cited 22 times, according to Clarivate’s Web of Science. Corresponding author Jacqueline Moline of Northwell Health in New York has also referenced the article in expert testimony for plaintiffs in talc litigation, as well as in remarks before the US Congress.

The abstract of the paper states that its objective is “to describe 33 cases of malignant mesothelioma among individuals with no known asbestos exposure other than cosmetic talcum powder”.

The authors further wrote that their article “is the first to describe mesothelioma among talcum powder consumers”.

But some patients described in the publication had other exposures to asbestos, lawyers for LTL Management, a recently-formed subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson that holds liability for cosmetic talc litigation, argue in a complaint against Moline.

In the course of other cosmetic talc litigation, Northwell Health confirmed the identity of one of the patients in the study, whom Moline had described in her Congressional testimony. The patient had claimed worker’s compensation for asbestos exposure at a textile plant, apart from her exposure to cosmetic talc as a hairdresser.

A judge ordered in December that the document Northwell provided to confirm the patient’s identity could be released and used in other litigation.

Stacieann Yuhasz, managing editor of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM), told Retraction Watch that the journal “has received a letter to the editor regarding the Moline publication, and Moline has notified JOEM that a response will be submitted late January”.

A spokesperson for Northwell told Retraction Watch that Moline would not comment, “pending ongoing litigation”.

No response was received from an email sent to Paul DeFilippo of the New York City firm Wollmuth, Maher & Deutsch and Allison Brown of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, also based in New York City, the lawyers who filed the complaint on behalf of LTL Management.

Study details

Mesothelioma Associated With the Use of Cosmetic Talc

Moline, Jacqueline; Bevilacqua, Kristin; Alexandri, Maya; Gordon, Ronald.

Published in JOEM on 17 January 2020

Abstract

Objective
To describe 33 cases of malignant mesothelioma among individuals with no known asbestos exposure other than cosmetic talcum powder.

Methods
Cases were referred for medico-legal evaluation, and tissue digestions were performed in some cases. Tissue digestion for the six cases described was done according to standard methodology.

Results
Asbestos of the type found in talcum powder was found in all six cases evaluated. Talcum powder usage was the only source of asbestos for all 33 cases.

Conclusions
Exposure to asbestos-contaminated talcum powders can cause mesothelioma. Clinicians should elicit a history of talcum powder usage in all patients presenting with mesothelioma.

 

JOEM article – Mesothelioma Associated With the Use of Cosmetic Talc (Open access)

 

Retraction Watch article – J&J subsidiary alleges fraud in paper that linked cosmetic talc with mesothelioma (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Johnson & Johnson recalls baby power in US with trace amounts of asbestos

 

J&J confirms end to global talc sales amid contamination litigation

 

A win for J&J over asbestos contamination in talc causing cancer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MedicalBrief — our free weekly e-newsletter

We'd appreciate as much information as possible, however only an email address is required.