In a verdict loss, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $1.2 million over transvaginal mesh injury claims, Bloomberg News reports. Jurors in Texas ruled that the Plaintiff, 64-year-old Linda Batiste, deserved the $1.2 million for injuries caused by the TVT-O mesh sling. Transvaginal mesh implants are used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence, but Batiste’s lawsuit alleges that her device did more harm than good. Allegedly, the mesh eroded inside of her and caused pelvic pain.
Batiste’s lawsuit is one of many. According to Bloomberg, Johnson & Johnson is facing 12,000 lawsuits over mesh implants. Most cases have been filed into the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) underway in West Virginia. C.R. Bard, Boston Scientific, American Medical Systems and several other manufacturers are also being sued over pelvic mesh.
Following a wave of litigation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered J&J and 32 other device makers to study the rates of organ damage and other complications associated with pelvic mesh implants. In 2011, the agency also warned that complications are “not rare” and cautioned that the devices may be more harmful compared to other methods of treating pelvic organ prolapse.
In the federal MDL, a Magistrate judge found that Johnson & Johnson negligently lost or destroyed documents related to the transvaginal mesh litigation. Last week, a consumer advocacy group asked U.S. attorney general Eric Holder Jr. to open up a criminal investigation into the destruction of documents.
Last year, a New Jersey jury ordered J&J to pay $11.1 million in damages to a woman who sued over the company’s Prolift device.
In 2010 alone, over 70,000 mesh devices were inserted in the United States to help strengthen pelvic muscles or support internal organs. However, as many lawsuits point out, these devices were never clinically tested before they were put onto the market.