A lawyer for the family of a woman whose death from ovarian cancer was linked to her use of Johnson & Johnson talc-based Baby Powder and Shower to Shower said company documents show using the products could cause the disease. 

Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a Missouri state jury in the US to pay $72m (€65m) in damages to the family of Jacqueline Fox, who developed ovarian cancer after using the products for several decades.

In a verdict announced on Monday night, jurors in the circuit court of St Louis awarded the family $10m (€9m) of actual damages and $62m (€56m) of punitive damages, according to the family's lawyers and court records.

"We had to convince them [the jury] that this was a company that had shown no concern, no remorse, who absolutely had no concern for the people that were dying. Families had loved ones die, buried them, had no idea why they got ovarian cancer," Jere Beasley, a lawyer for Ms Fox's family, said.

Johnson & Johnson faces claims that, in an effort to boost sales, it failed for decades to warn consumers that its talc-based products could cause cancer. About 1,000 cases have been filed in Missouri state court, and another 200 in New Jersey.

Mr Beasley said internal Johnson & Johnson documents show the company knew about the link between talc and ovarian cancer.

"They knew as far back as 1979 the association between talc and ovarian cancer. They knew that 1,500 women were dying each year from ovarian cancer caused or indirectly contributed to by talc and continued to sell, made a conscious decision not to warn.

"They manipulated the media. They manipulated the scientific community. They manipulated the governmental agencies," he said.

Liable for fraud, negligence and conspiracy

Ms Fox, who lived in Birmingham, Alabama, claimed she used Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for feminine hygiene for more than 35 years before being diagnosed three years ago with ovarian cancer. She died last October aged 62.

Jurors found Johnson & Johnson liable for fraud, negligence and conspiracy. Deliberations lasted four hours, following a three-week trial.

Carol Goodrich, a Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman, said: "We have no higher responsibility than the health and safety of consumers, and we are disappointed with the outcome of the trial. We sympathise with the plaintiff's family but firmly believe the safety of cosmetic talc is supported by decades of scientific evidence."

Trials in several other talc lawsuits have been set for later this year, according to Danielle Mason, who also represented Ms Fox's family at the trial.

And Mr Beasley said there could be many more cases. "We represent right now in our law firm over 6,000 individual families and some women who are still living. And I understand there are many, many, many, many more thousands out there who have similar problems.

"We have heard from folks in Australia, Great Britain, France, and apparently it's much more widespread than even I thought," he said.

In October 2013, a federal jury in South Dakota found that plaintiff Deane Berg's use of Johnson & Johnson's body powder products was a factor in her developing ovarian cancer. Nevertheless, it awarded no damages, court records show.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc now owns the Shower to Shower brand but was not a defendant in the Fox case.