Once again, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company finds itself in legal trouble. Johnson & Johnson, which has already had a rough past few years due to thousands of lawsuits concerning its role in the opioid epidemic as well as lawsuits over its baby powder, was recently ordered by a California judge to pay $344 million in damages for falsely advertising its transvaginal mesh products to women. A Johnson & Johnson spokesperson has said the company will appeal the decision.
It is estimated that about thirty to forty percent of women have pelvic organs that have begun to sag (also known as pelvic organ prolapse, or POP), thanks to childbirth and/or aging. Other women suffer from stress urinary incontinence. Both conditions can be extremely uncomfortable and also make living a normal life impossible. As such, thousands of women have opted to have transvaginal mesh implant surgeries.
In these surgeries, the transvaginal mesh is implanted into a small incision in the vaginal wall. The surrounding tissue then will grow and fill in the holes of the mesh, turning it into a supportive wall.
Johnson & Johnson was one of the leading manufacturers of transvaginal mesh products, but in an Australian federal case in late 2019, thousands of women testified that their mesh implants had eroded to the point where they could not be removed, and the women suffered chronic and debilitating pain, infections, and other complications. The Australian courts ruled in favor of the women, making it one of Australia’s largest product liability class-action suits.
In California, nearly 42,000 transvaginal mesh implants were sold between 2008 and 2014. According to the state attorney general Xavier Becerra,
Johnson & Johnson knew the danger of its mesh products but put profits ahead of the health of millions of women.
After the California judge made his ruling, Becerra said it was the first time a court had ruled that Johnson & Johnson had engaged in false advertising practices.
The fine of $344 million may seem like an enormous sum of money, but consider that Johnson & Johnson reported a net income of $4.01 billion dollars in 2019, which is up from $3.04 million in 2018. Despite all the lawsuits it is fighting, the company saw its profits increase, partly due to higher prescription drug costs.
Transvaginal Mesh Failures
A transvaginal mesh failure can be all but life-ending for a patient. Not only does a victim of a transvaginal mesh failure have to deal with debilitating pain and suffering, she may not be able to enjoy sexual intercourse, which can have profound psychological effects.
If you or a loved one believe you have suffered a transvaginal mesh failure or any other medical malpractice error, you should contact our firm. Our experienced and aggressive medical malpractice attorneys stake their reputation on fighting to get victims the compensation that they deserve.