Mesh Medical Device News Desk, November 1, 2018~ The Attorney General of Washington State is moving ahead with holding Johnson & Johnson liable for deceptively marketing pelvic mesh in its state.
Washington State AG Office Asks To Hold J&J Liable, Sets Trial Date
In 2016, Washington State’s Attorney General sued J&J over the costs the state advanced to take care of women injured by the company’s pelvic mesh.
The state wants to be reimbursed upward of $24 million.
In an effort to move along the litigation, the AG has filed motions for partial summary judgment in King County Superior Court asking the judge to rule that J&J misrepresented the serious risks posted by its surgical mesh devices.
A trial date has been set for April 22, 2019 on any issues that remain unresolved.
The Motion for Partial Summary Judgment is set to be heard on December 14, 2018.
The AG’s office says the company violated state consumer protection statutes when it failed to tell consumers its permanently implanted polypropylene meshes can cause chronic inflammation, chronic foreign body reaction, harbors infection, can protrude into an organ, cause permanent loss of sexual function among other complications.
*Note* The Motion outlines how J&J’s adverse reaction warnings changed over the years.
*Many of the J&J/ Ethicon meshes have been found defective in a court of law.
*J&J makes, Gynemesh PS, Prolift, TVT-Exact, Prolift +M, TVT-Secur, TVT-Abbrevo, Prosima, Artisyn, and TVT.
*The healthcare giant quietly and voluntarily removed four meshes from the market in June 2012 – Prolift, Prolift +M, TVT-Secur and Prosima.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson warns that J&J should not engage in unfair or deceptive marketing of mesh products and that the healthcare giant did knowingly omit serious, life-altering complications from the instructions that came with every device sold from 1999 to 2015.
The state is seeking the maximum penalty of $2,000 per violation along with costs, fees, restitution and other relief which could amount to $24 million.
J&J updated its instructions for use in late 2015.
It’s estimated J&J sold more than 12,000 such polypropylene devices in Washington state between 2002 and 2015. The pelvic mesh is used to hold up a sagging pelvic floor and organs or to suspend a urethra. It is a permanent implant that did not undergo any clinical trials before being marketed.
Among those who have joined in this lawsuit include one Washington State woman who is home bound because she must use a catheter to empty her bladder. She suffers from chronic urinary tract infection and pain down her legs after her mesh was implanted eight years ago.
Another mesh implant woman has endured three separate surgeries to partially remove the mesh. She still suffers from incontinence and pain.
J&J and its Ethicon division continue to sell four of its polypropylene pelvic mesh medical devices in Washington State. In its September 30th SEC statement (here) J&J says it is facing 37,500 pelvic mesh cases but that most are in the process of settling.
Women can still file a complaint online (here) or by calling the Consumer Resource Center at 1-800-551-4636.
Washington State is joined by Kentucky, Mississippi and California in seeking reimbursement for mesh injury expenses in their respective states. ###
Washington State Complaint, May 24, 2016 Here
California State Complaint, May 24, 2016 Here
MND, Surgical Mesh Crisis: Regulatory Action & Inaction Here
MND, Kentucky AG Files Deceptive Marketing Lawsuit Against Johnson & Johnson Over Surgical Mesh, August 16, 2016, Here
Washington State AG Office PRESS Release Here