February 22, 2013 ~ As the jury deliberates for its fourth straight day in the Linda Gross v. Ethicon trial, news broke from Bloomberg/Businessweek (here) around noon today of a government investigation of metal hips and surgical mesh made by the healthcare products giant.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched, and J&J confirmed, separate government investigations into possible false claims made by the DePuy unit of J&J over metal hip devices and a California-based multistate investigation into the marketing of surgical mesh, including transvaginal mesh.
Here is the company's annual report issued today.
Johnson & Johnson is the world's largest seller of health care products and its metal hip division has been in the news while a high profile product liability trial is underway in Los Angeles concerning its metal DePuy ASR hip.
At the same time another product liability trial is in its final stages in New Jersey concerning J&J's transvaginal mesh.
Bloomberg reports the DOJ has requested documents pertaining to any false claims J&J made to healthcare programs such as Medicare. The ASR XL hip was recalled in August 2010 and is the subject of thousands of product liability lawsuits filed around the country.
J&J tells Bloomberg it is fully cooperating with the investigation and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts concerning the marketing of the DePuy hips.
The California investigation involves 42 states and whether or not J&J made false claims regarding the marketing of surgical mesh for hernia and urogynecological purposes.
The product liability charges in both cases involve a defective design and a failure to warn about possible problems.
In Gross v. Ethicon a third charge being deliberated is whether there was deceit or a deliberate misrepresentation made to Ms. Gross and her implanting surgeon concerning the safety and risks of the Prolift mesh product.
*Update ~ the nine person jury went home for the day around 4 pm and will reconvene to consider Linda Gross v. Ethicon Monday morning.