J&J Facing $1.7 Million in Damages to Three Australian Women

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, March 3, 2020~ This is just the beginning of compensation being offered to thousands of Australian women implanted permanently with J&J's transvaginal mesh.

A federal court in Australia has ordered healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson to pay $1.7 million (US dollars) plus legal costs as compensation to women injured by the company’s polypropylene transvaginal mesh implants. ABC News AU has the story here.

Image: ABC. au

Three women headed the country’s largest class action of more than 1,350 women injured with serious complications from the polypropylene implants such as chronic pain and infections, and an inability to have sex and, in some cases, even to walk.

Three women are named in this action- Kathryn Gill, Diane Dawson and Ann Sanders. They were not in court Tuesday, reports ABC News in Australia, but about a dozen other women, part of the class action, were present.

Justice Anna Katzman, Federal court, Sydney, AU

Last November, Judge Anna Katzmann of the Federal Court found in favor of the women stating that the evidence from an 89-day trial was that the evidence was “overwhelming” that the devices were not tested properly and were instead quietly introduced to the market through aggressive marketing to both surgeons and patients.

The company misled patients and doctors about the risks involved in a permanent transvaginal mesh implant.

In Australia, the devices were banned in 2017 and later a government inquiry found women were "ignored and treated appallingly".

The class action shares the issues of damage and other applicants may also be awarded in the near future.

Mesh News Desk has previously reported that evidence was presented that polypropylene can shrink, erode, harden, and cause pain.

Mesh Injured Australia's Justine Watson tells ABC News that the amounts provide very little ongoing care most women injured by mesh will require.

Listen to the interview here.

Prof. Bernard Jacquetin, TVM patent

Trial Evidence

French inventor, Dr. Bernard Jacquetin said in an email presented at trial that “I would not want my wife to undergo this procedure and I don’t think I’m alone in that.”

Plaintiffs presented evidence of how mesh devices used to treat incontinence and prolapse were marketed to doctors with promises of enriching their practices and speed of surgery, estimated to be about eight minutes!

Presented to the court were Ethicon marketing materials, “the practice driven physician” which shows how doctors who adapt the new technology can “really enjoy life,” and “Retire rich.”

Lamborghini

“Just got back from a week in St Moritz. I picked up the Lamborghini on Friday. I’m finally going to invest in that sailboat this summer so we can cruise to the Caribbean.

My practice is now at the level of efficiency where I can take some time away to really enjoy life.”

J&J Responds

The Australian Pelvic Mesh Support Group offers an 800 number for mesh injured women to call and get references to doctors. The group is campaigning for the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to remove all mesh devices from the market.

No word yet from J&J whether it will appeal the case, but so far it has appealed all unfavorable verdicts.

J&J tells ABC.NetAu in a statement that it "empathises" with the women who experienced complications but believe it acted "ethically and responsibly" in research, development and supply of the implants.

"Pelvic mesh has helped improve the quality of life for millions of women with pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence, which are serious, debilitating conditions that can cause daily suffering," the statement reads.

"Ethicon supports and encourages informed treatment decisions made by patients in consultation with doctors on the benefits and risks of surgical procedures to treat these debilitating conditions."

The class action, represented by Shine Lawyers, is still growing and will be the largest women’s health class action in Australia’s history. Women in Australia are encouraged to contact Shine Lawyers before April 9 to join the class action. Its estimated as many as 5,500 women could have suffered complications and may be eligible to join the class action.

LEARN MORE:

Reuters story here

Mesh News Desk, Surgeons Incentivized with Lamborghinis and Swiss Alps Ski Trips Internal J&J Docs Show, August 14, 2017

Mesh News Desk, Australia Pulls Ethicon TVT Devices Off the Market, January 23, 2018

Mesh News Desk, Pelvic Meshes Removed from Australian Market, September 18, 2017

Mesh News Desk, Mesh Class Action and International Litigation

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