Kentucky has followed California and Washington and filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit against pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon unit. Ethicon is the branch of Johnson & Johnson that handles medical device manufacturing.
The Attorney General is suing on behalf of more than 15,000 Kentucky women who fell victim to Johnson’s “deceitful” marketing of transvaginal mesh devices. “The way this company clearly chose profits over people is outrageous,” says Attorney General Andy Beshear. “My office has talked to victims whose lives have been devastated by this company’s deceitful practices. We may not be able to give them back the lives they once had, but my office will do everything we can to hold this company accountable.”
Not only were warnings withheld of potentially life-altering side effects from the use of transvaginal mesh devices, but the Kentucky lawsuit alleges that Johnson & Johnson’s transvaginal mesh products weren’t even approved for use by the FDA. While they might have been cleared by the federal agency, actual FDA approval had not yet been issued before the company began marketing the product.
The corporation, for its part, denies that any deceit took place. In a statement, the company said that “the evidence will show that Ethicon acted appropriately and responsibly in the marketing of our pelvic mesh products.”
Tens of thousands of transvaginal mesh lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon and hundreds of millions of dollars have already been awarded to plaintiffs. Complications from the use of the devices can be severe; ranging from pain and infection to urinary problems, sexual difficulties, organ perforation, and device erosion.
As mentioned, California has also filed its own lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. The state claims that over 780,000 Ethicon transvaginal mesh devices were sold between 2008 and 2014. With some studies showing that 10 percent of mesh devices can erode in patients within 12 months of implantation, it’s not hard to see why this is a major concern for healthcare regulators and practitioners alike.