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Surgeons Incentivized with Lamborghinis and Swiss Alps Ski Trips Internal J&J Docs Show

Lamborghini

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, August 14, 2017 ~ Wealth and Status, Reputation/Ego listed as Key Values for doctors using an Ethicon/ Gynecare TVT polypropylene pelvic mesh.

“Surgery is the Cha-ching thing”

RETIRE RICH

ABC News Australia (Australia Broadcast Company) reports (here) that the pelvic mesh scandal in that country was incentivized by mesh makers who offered surgeons a jet-set lifestyle if they used the medical devices.

Outside federal courthouse, Sydney, News.com.au

The information is revealed in internal Johnson & Johnson documents, part of a federal court class action trial underway in Sydney, Australia, that pits 700 Australian (AU) women against the healthcare giant, maker of pelvic mesh implants used to treat incontinence and prolapse. The plaintiffs claim life-altering injury from the permanent polypropylene implants.

There is no subtle suggestion from J&J in the marketing script that adopting mesh implants into your medical practice can make you wealthy. In fact, it is probably the most blatant indictment of medical devices marketed for money revealed so far in pelvic mesh litigation.

WHO WAS THIS MESSAGE FOR?

A document from Johnson & Johnson entitled “The Practice Driven Physician,” describes him as a highly motivated doctor, looking to make his practice more efficient and profitable, and to enhance his reputation and revenue. Surgeons could insert four devices “before lunch” and make $10,000.

As a result he would enjoy Wealth and Status, Reputation/Ego as one of the “Key Values.”

He is “less inclined to attend multiple conferences.”

A cover of Fortune Magazine was included with the words “Retire Rich.

The script shows the typical conversation J&J hears from doctors using its products. Just back from a week in St. Moritz skiing, picking up the Lamborghini on Friday “An amazing machine.”

One unnamed doctor allegedly writes in the talking points, “I use your products because I can do more procedures in less time with better reimbursement.”

The memo says a TVT-O can be implanted in eight minutes.

In the U.S. courts, the TVT-O has been found defectively designed by at least three different juries.

Barrister Tony Banno

Barrister Tony Bannon (senior counsel of New South Wales) has said there was a “tidal wave” of aggressive marketing to surgeons and patients suggesting mesh was a “quick and easy” operation.  None of the plaintiffs would have consented to the operation had they had true informed consent outlining the “true risks” of the mesh, he told the court in the first week of this trial that began July 4.

The Shine Law firm is representing the women in this class action, the largest in AU history.

See the document here The Practice Driven Physician. 

PROSIMA DOCUMENT

As early as 2009, documents just released in this class action, show concerns were raised inside the company about the Prosima.

Following a Prosima “summit” some said “rushing to market” was a “huge mistake” and opening up the use of the product to “unqualified surgeons.”

Insiders to J&J admit that Prosima has a 30% failure rate. The push to Prosima occurred after surgeons were losing faith in the Prolift procedure, another mesh designed to treat pelvic organ prolapse.  It was launched to compete with Boston Scientific’s Pinnacle and AMS’s Elevate.

See MND story here.

Prolift, Interceed and Versapoint were listed with the word “NOT” before them.

The brands pushed in this document include Gynecare Thermachoice, TVT Morceluex, (for hernia) and Prosima.

Prolift and Prosima were two of four meshes voluntarily removed from the market by J&J in June 2012.   See MND story here.

Johnson & Johnson would not comment on the documents presented in this class action.

At least 3,000 Australian women have been left with injuries from serious to catastrophic, according to a Senate inquiry in Melbourne, AU last month.

See Prosima document here, AU Class Action on Prosima.

TRAVEL TO ST. LOUIS

Dr. Veronikis and Caz Chisholm, from ABC News

With an estimated 100,000 mesh implants used in Australia, ABC News reports Sydney gynecologist Professor Theirry Vancaillie has just returned from St. Louis where he studied with Dr. Dionysios Veronikis on how to do full mesh removals, a difficult task most doctors will not attempt.

“I believe that Dr. Veronikis has shown that  by removing mesh in a number of, several hundreds of cases, that he achieves better results in pain management, “ Dr. Vancaillie is quoted as saying by ABC.

Australian women find themselves travelling to the U.S. to have a full mesh removal.

Caz Chisholm, founder of the Australian Pelvic Mesh Support Group found in her poll that “70 percent of women who’ve had a partial removal are worse off after their partial removal.”

 

SENATE INQUIRY

Sen. Derryn Hinch, Au Senate

Members of the Australian Pelvic Mesh Support Group, who want a ban on the devices, called a nationwide inquiry and the Senate responded.

Victorian Senator Derryn Hinch campaigned for the inquiry, calling mesh “one of the greatest scandals against women in Australian history.”

During the first day of the two-day hearings earlier this month, two doctors testified who are also set to be expert witnesses for Johnson & Johnson in an ongoing class action trial in Sydney.

Joanne McCarthy reports for The Herald (here) that Dr. Anna Rosamilia admits she “should have disclosed” she would be giving evidence for the company.

AU mesh survivors, The Age

“I wasn’t aware that I needed to,” she told the paper.

Dr. Peter Dwyer, also an expert witness for J&J, told the inquiry that patients have died from these devices, mesh used to treat prolapse and incontinence, when surgeons put them in the wrong place.  Training on mesh surgery was “falling between the gaps a bit.”

Mesh manufacturers should not be doing the training of doctors he said.  Dr. Dwyer said “on occasion the rep does come into the operating theatre.”

There will be another public hearing August 25th in Perth, AU.  ###

 

LEARN MORE:

ABC News, July 4, 2017, Class Action begins against J&J in Sydney Courtroom Includes 700 Plaintiffs
http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-04/class-action-vaginal-mesh-implants-johnson-and-johnson/8674106

www.Pelvichealthsolutions.com  was established by J&J for women to find out more about the procedures. no longer opens except with dot.ca

Mesh News Desk, September 23, 2015, Plaintiff’s Expert Outlines J&J’s Push to Market Prosima Pelvic Mesh
https://www.meshmedicaldevicenewsdesk.com/plaintiffs-expert-outlines-jjs-rush-to-market-of-prosima-pelvic-mesh/

Mesh News Desk, July 24, 2017, Australian Health Advocates Articulate Goals for Mesh-Injured
https://www.meshmedicaldevicenewsdesk.com/australian-health-advocates-articulate-goals-mesh-injured/

Newcastle Herald, August 4, 2017, A Melbourne Senate inquiry hearing was told up to 3000 women left with serious mesh injuries, Joanne McCarthy
http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4832324/peak-health-body-scathing-on-mesh-history/

Mesh News Desk, March 16, 2017, Australian Investigation into Transvaginal Mesh Leads to Trials and Senate Inquiry
https://www.meshmedicaldevicenewsdesk.com/australian-investigation-transvaginal-mesh-leads-trials-senate-inquiry/

The Age, March 14, 2017, Pelvic Mesh Devices Hit by Allegations of Research Fraud, Experimental Surgery on Thousands of Women, Joanne McCarthy
http://www.theage.com.au/national/health/pelvic-mesh-devices-hit-by-allegations-of-research-fraud-experimental-surgery-on-thousands-of-women-20170313-guxclj

Mesh News Desk, June 2012, Four J&J Vaginal Meshes to be Removed from Market
https://www.meshmedicaldevicenewsdesk.com/four-jj-vaginal-meshes-named-will-be-removed-from-market/

 

8 Comments

  1. Anon says:

    This story explains why most mesh implanting surgeons abandoned their patients.

  2. Bejah Blue says:

    I feel sick. I thought people went into medicine because they wanted to care for others. If all they wanted is money why sacrifice all those years of Medical School? My opinion of physicians continues to evolve or should I say devolve.

    Now there is even more reason to carefully vet prospective doctors.

    I just left a voicemail for my Urologist, Gary Leifer the other day asking if I could have a kidney function test because the last one was in the fall of 2009 when I was doing to pre op work up in preparation for the evil surgery at UCLA implanting me with mesh. He just ordered it immediately. I remember when I first went to him he said he was so sorry about what happened to me, and wished there was something he could do (to make it all better).

    Empathy is something one finds with a good doctor, a person with a good heart.

    I am having more pain, and burning and need to empty my bladder even more often than even a year ago which reminds me of something else I wanted to mention…I don’t think I have yet. I should add that I have malformed pelvic kidney(s) and that is why I went to UCLA, not because of any prolapse issue. I did not vet the physician, Ha-Jong Kim because it was UCLA. I trusted the University. I was a fool. It was the first and last time I did not vet a doctor since 1990.

    Doctor Leifer ordered the series of 6 infusions of Heparin in my bladder to help me but I discovered that the Heparin is contraindicated through my own research and I cancelled the infustions. We are to meet and discuss other options. I will take him copies of the NIH papers on the subject. This illustrates why all of us need to participate in our healthcare in a very hands on way. Most of his patients probably do not have malformed kidneys as I do. I know that I do and so as a team member in my care I told him/reminded him. Also I understand that marijuana has been processed into a liquid/oil and I wonder if that could be a substitute for the Heparin in the bladder infusions. I asked if I could be a test subject and we could try using that on me in place of Heparin.

    BTW I similarly discovered that I can not have any IV of contrast dye (Specifically Gladolin sp?) because it is hard on ones kidneys.

    I would be very interested in hearing of any experiences any of you have had with the bladder infusions, etc. I wish you all a happy as possible weekend.

    Bejah

    • Still Standing says:

      Bejah, bladder cocktails are given to help calm down the bladder. When it is inflamed, its is painful and it also has a higher chance for infection. They are not a cure at all, but just a way to manage symptoms and decrease bladder pain. Many bladder “recipes” are made with heparin, but they don’t have to have it. Maybe your doctor can try one without heparin. I’m wondering your hesitation to have the heparin if your doctor was ok with it since it stays in your bladder and it is Not absorbed into the bloodstream or into tissue. It just coats the bladder lining. I had quite a few UTIs until I started on the daily D-Mannose supplements. Have not needed any cocktails or had a UTI since I started taking it, almost two years. I’m skeptical of lots of supplements, but this one truly works. I went from 10 UTIs a year to none. Ask your doctor about using it. I order from Superior Labs on Amazon.

      • Bejah says:

        Dear SS, Thanks. I will order the supplement, on Sept. 1st. Thanks so much as always. Re the Heperin, I must look to the research that suggested it is not advised for me due to kidney malformation. If you are interested I can point you to is. I do not know how to reconcile what you have said about this with the research posted at NIH, beyond my pay grade! Love, Bejah

        • Still standing says:

          Send me the link. Theoretically, what is placed in your bladder won’t back up into your kidneys since kidneys send urine to the bladder. It would like to see the NIH document

          • Bejah Blue says:

            Dear SS, I copied piece to WORD. Here is source info rather than link.Int Braz J Urol. 2016 May-Jun; 42(3): 585–593.
            doi: 10.1590/S1677-5538.IBJU.2015.0289
            PMCID: PMC4920579
            Host inflammatory response to polypropylene implants: insights from a quantitative immunohistochemical and birefringence analysis in a rat subcutaneous model
            Alessandro Prudente, 1 Wágner José Fávaro, 2 Paulo Latuf, Filho, 3 and Cássio Luis Zanettini Riccetto 1

          • Bejah Blue says:

            SS, I think I sent you wrong info on the NIH piece. I will try again tomorrow afternoon. Sorry, B

      • Kitty says:

        Hi just came upon this. It is questionable about leaky junctions in the bladder. The bladder for the most part is not permeable to ions…but research has seen evidence of slight leakage. Err on the side of caution is my mantra.

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