Defective Pelvic Mesh Devices Leave Thousands at Risk

Defective Medical Devices
Transvaginal Mesh

By Zac Pingle, Staff Writer

Johnson & Johnson, a medical mesh manufacturer, is being sued for failing to warn doctors and patients of the risks associated with pelvic mesh devices. Ethicon, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, allegedly falsely advertised the safety and superiority of pelvic mesh devices over other treatments for pelvic floor disorders. J&J spokeswoman Samantha Lucas stated that “the evidence will show that Ethicon acted appropriately and responsibly in the marketing of our pelvic mesh products.”

California Attorney General Kamala Harris led an investigation of J&Js mesh products that led to reports of defective mesh devices in 46 states and the District of Columbia. The investigation discovered that more than 787,000 pelvic mesh devices had been sold in the United States, 42,000 of which were sold in California. The J&J transvaginal mesh lawsuit is now reported to be the largest tort lawsuit in U.S. history. “Johnson & Johnson is putting millions of women at risk of severe health problems by failing to provide critical information to doctors and patients about its surgical mesh products,” said Harris.

Johnson & Johnson Hurts Women, a group led by pelvic mesh survivors, claims that J&J not only withheld information about its mesh product to the public, but also willfully destroyed sensitive documents pertaining to their mesh’s design and safety. In a letter addressed to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder the group stated “The company had previously acknowledged it had lost or destroyed hundreds of thousands of pages of documents under a litigation hold.” The letter requested an investigation into J&J’s alleged destruction of evidence. Millions of additional dollars could be awarded to plaintiffs for punitive damages if the investigation finds evidence that J&J willfully destroyed evidence. The advocacy group declared in the same letter that “Pelvic mesh survivors deserve nothing less.”

Pelvic mesh has been used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and has affected hundreds of thousands of women nationwide. Symptoms of pelvic mesh devices include but are not limited to:

  • Nerve damage
  • Vaginal Scarring
  • Bleeding
  • Hematomas
  • Painful intercourse
  • Bruising
  • Severe pelvic, genital, or groin pain
  • Mesh degradation
  • Infection
  • Fistulas

Johnson & Johnson settled thousands of cases in late January of this year in an attempt to resolve some of the pelvic mesh claims. The staggering number of cases involving pelvic mesh injuries has increased exponentially since January of 2015, when J&J only settled four cases regarding pelvic mesh injury. 

J&J has not been the only pelvic mesh manufacturer to be sued. Companies C.R. Bard, and Boston Scientific are also having to pay millions of dollars in damages for faulty pelvic mesh products. Reportedly, some pelvic mesh was manufactured out of counterfeit material which may erode after prolonged use. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that it is reclassifying pelvic mesh devices from a class II risk (moderate risk) to a class III risk (high risk).

If you have had a pelvic mesh device implanted, you may be at risk for severe side effects and health conditions. Contact an experienced defective medical device lawyer to find out whether you may be entitled to compensation.

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