June 1, 2013 ~ Welcome. I’m Jane Akre, the Editor of MDND. We are now entering our second year of publishing and unfortunately the mesh-injured community is only growing. At last count there were nearly 22,000 cases consolidated in one federal court in West Virginia and that does not take into account the hundreds if not thousands filed around the country in state courts.
These numbers will eventually likely eclipse the huge Vioxx litigation making it one of the largest pharmaceutical product liability actions ever filed, yet where is the media? A bit squeamish to talk about women's private parts I'm told from other journalists, yet if the latest Sports Illustrated cover model has the skimpiest bikini ever - that is front page news.
Realizing they have to advocate for themselves, women are beginning to speak out. Some are now connecting the dots after talking to other women and now recognize that their undiagnosed symptoms could be due to mesh. Doctors have suggested that lawyer advertisements may be, at least partially, be contributing to the litigation numbers.
Many women relay to MDND what they are being told by their doctors - “The mesh has been recalled,” “I don’t use that mesh,” “That’s used in another country.” The legal community would call that hearsay, but enough hearsay and you begin to see a pattern.
Bottom line- most mesh remains on the market. Synthetic mesh is made with polypropylene, which seems to be part of the problem for some reason yet undetermined. Are some women high reactors? Is the mesh treated in a way that causes bioincompatibility? Is polypropylene incompatible with the human body? Frankly, no one is looking for these answers. We do know that men and women are also having complications with hernia mesh - maybe it's the mesh?
As far as recalls- the ProteGen was recalled more than a decade ago for being defective. That didn't stop it from being used as the predicate for the approval of meshes on the market today. Last June, Ethicon (J&J) removed four meshes from the market and in doing so, avoided the FDA mandate for post approval monitoring. Kugel mesh for hernia repair was recalled but was re-issued later.C.R. Bard stopped selling the Avaulta mesh kits around the time of the Christine Scott's $5.5 million verdict and Mentor Ob withdrew that mesh in March 2006.
So now what? Mesh Medical Device News Desk (MDND) continues to tell the stories of the mesh-injured and their journey to take back their health. It’s now about time to revisit some of those women who have now had their surgeries to see how successful it was. Women are speaking out in their own ways to inform others and we chronicle some of their methods from sending out a mass email to friends and family to taking placards in the street to stop traffic. Many have made efforts to reach out to the mainstream talk shows to raise the profile of mesh injuries.
On the horizon- you will see advertising on MDND. That is a necessity of everyday life, though I’ve said no to some in an effort to stay independent. A firewall exists between editorial and content and no lawyer or doctor will receive referrals. No one will receive any emails. Period.
MDND is now taking stories from Contributors!!, a section of the website I hope to see grow. I’d also like to have more input from doctors who are watching the site. As I’ve said to many of them, we all speak the same language - why not make MDND a place to find some mutual ground?
What do you think should be next?
MDND must be kept viable so I’m looking for ways to keep this independent. The first C.R. Bard trials in federal court in Charleston are set to begin July 8 and any advertiser can have exclusive coverage. The Donna Cisson case is about the Bard Avaulta Plus Posterior. Christine Scott had a case against the Bard Avaulta Solo in a California court where a jury awarded her $5.5 million. That case is on appeal.
As always, Editor Akre is available for writing content, for research, for social media outreach. Thanks for the consideration.
Putting a Face on Adverse Events – that’s why we’re here. Let me hear from you. And as always- stay well.