Pelvic mesh implant maker Johnson & Johnson Group has reached a $300 million settlement in two class action lawsuits after thousands of women around the world reported complications from mesh products, including chronic pain, painful intercourse and incontinence.
It is the largest product liability class action settlement in Australian history and is subject to federal court approval.
Net-like meshes, which come in many forms, including a “sling,” “band,” “ribbon,” “mesh,” and “hammock,” are intended to treat pelvic organ prolapse by providing permanent support to weakened pelvic organs. , and to repair damaged tissue.
Shine Lawyers led the Australian class actions and alleged Johnson & Johnson failed to properly test the devices and minimized their risk to surgeons and patients. Women have suffered complications including exposure and erosion of the mesh – when the mesh breaks through the vaginal wall or cuts into internal tissues – vaginal scarring, fistula formation, painful intercourse, and pelvic, back pain and in the legs. Some of these complications can occur years after surgery and can be difficult to treat.
The first class action lawsuit was filed in federal court on October 15, 2012 and was tried for seven months between July 2017 and February 2018. In November 2019, a landmark judgment was issued in favor of the 1,350 women who were part of the class . action and who have had mesh and tape products implanted to treat pelvic prolapse or stress urinary incontinence.
Johnson & Johnson Medical and Ethicon appealed to the full court of the Federal Court, which dismissed the appeal in March 2021.
The full court agreed with the lead judge’s finding that the marketing of mesh devices was likely to mislead or deceive.
The court rejected arguments by lawyers representing Johnson & Johnson that manufacturers are exempt from liability for risks or complications that should be known to physicians, or that physicians and surgeons are able to discover and to warn themselves. The court concluded that while not all medical products can be risk-free, the patient should expect these devices to carry appropriate warnings about the risks, even if those risks are rare.
In November 2021, the High Court denied Johnson & Johnson Medical’s application for special leave to appeal.
The second class action was filed in April 2021 on behalf of women who received their implants on or after July 4, 2017 and were ineligible to join the first class action.
Rebecca Jancauskas of Shine Lawyers said the settlement would help meet women’s ongoing treatment needs.
“We welcome this settlement which puts an end to the litigation,” she said. “If the Federal Court approves the settlement, our attention will turn to the important task of distributing the settlement to class members.”
Other wrap and knitwear manufacturers, including Astora Women’s Health and Boston Scientific, have also been subject to class action lawsuits in Australia. In July, Shine Lawyers reached a deal worth $105 million with Boston Scientific.
Women implanted with one or more of the devices in Australia up to June 30, 2020, and who experienced one or more complications as a result, may be eligible for compensation.
Similar class action lawsuits involving thousands of women are also underway in the UK and US. In 2018, then-Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt issued a national apology on behalf of the government to women affected by the transvaginal mesh scandal, after a Senate inquiry into transvaginal mesh procedures found revealed that many women had great difficulty finding doctors who believed that the symptoms they were experiencing were the result of meshing and that the symptoms were as bad as they described.
#Johnson #Johnson #reaches #million #settlement #pelvic #mesh #implants