Scottish Medical Officer Says Docs Can Continue to Implant Mesh Despite Mesh Suspension
Marion Scott, the reporter who has passionately reported on the pelvic mesh issue for the Daily Record and Sunday Mail newspaper in Scotland, reports a top medical adviser to the Scottish government suggests doctors may continue to perform mesh implants even though the Health Secretary has advised use of pelvic mesh be suspended.
Dr. Frances Elliott is the deputy chief medical officer for Scotland. She sent a letter to doctors urging they continue to enroll women in a clinical trial and when warranted implant them with pelvic organ mesh to treat incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.
The Daily Record and Sunday Mail quotes Scottish Mesh Survivor Karen Neil, “This is a betrayal of everything we were promised, a cynical move to allow doctors to keep experimenting on women despite the devastating injuries we’ve all suffered.”
Last June, Health Secretary Alex Neil announced he backed a suspension of mesh sales pending a safety review after listening to the stories of women who had petitioned the government. See the back story here.
Scotland made headlines when it became the first country to suspend sales of transvaginal mesh and discourage its use after 328 mesh-injured women in the country came forward. according to the BBC, about 1,500 women undergo transvaginal mesh implant in Scotland every year.
By comparison, there are 67,000 pelvic mesh injury cases filed in federal court in the U.S. and many more in state court.
Mr. Neil encouraged Dr. Elliot to write to the health boards to suspend the use of transvaginal mesh until there is a Scottish review, however she reportedly had a different message.
A European Commission investigation into mesh implants is already underway and is due to be released January 2015 (here), the same time an FDA review of the health of implanted women is due in January from 30 mesh manufacturers.
The actual number of mesh injured women in Scotland and around the world is not known because there is no tracking, either by the FDA or by industry, of mesh-related complications that can include infection, mesh erosion and migration, nerve damage and chronic pain, among other problems. Any reporting to the FDA is entirely voluntary and not closely monitored.
Many doctors followed that advice fearing the risks outweighed the benefits.
Read the rest of the story here.
Page One – Sunday Mail, June 22, 2104 – “Cheers and Tears as Health Secretary Suspends Operations”
Page Two – Sunday Mail, June 22, 2014 – “Health Secretary on Why He Suspended Mesh”
Watch the entire hearing on BBC Democracy Live here.
Scottish Petition Here.