First Mesh Settlement by J&J to Exceed $120 Million
Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay more than $120 million to settle hundreds of transvaginal mesh lawsuits brought by women alleging serious injuries from the products. The settlement is the first time the pharmaceutical giant has moved to settle a significant number of the thousands of cases still pending in federal court.
The settlement will resolve 2,000-3,000 claims filed by women who suffered significant pain and organ damage after being implanted with the surgical mesh. There are more than 42,000 cases still pending against the company and their Ethicon division. There is no word at this time whether the current settlement will affect the outcome of any of those cases.
Transvaginal mesh has been used to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). POP is a condition in which pelvic organs drop due to the weakening of pelvic muscles. SUI is the inability to prevent loss of urine during physical movement like coughing, sneezing or laughing. Both conditions are a common problem for women who have experienced childbirth or had a hysterectomy. They also frequently occur during the menopause years.
About surgical mesh
Surgical mesh is used to support the pelvic organs when the pelvic muscle is no longer able to. Pelvic mesh has replaced traditional surgery for some patients, allowing them to undergo vaginal procedures that involve less discomfort and downtime. However, women claim that mesh can erode inside the body, leading to chronic pain, bleeding, recurrent infections, organ damage, and painful intercourse.
In thousands of cases, women have required revision surgery to remove the mesh, which is not effective at treating complications in all cases.
Women have then turned to litigation to pursue compensation for their injuries and hold manufacturers accountable for alleged defects in their products. In addition to Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson, other manufacturers facing litigation include American Medical Systems, Boston Scientific and C.R. Bard.
Billions spent on mesh litigation
Johnson & Johnson has spent more than $3.54 billion on mesh litigation to date, with the bulk of those expenses occurring in 2013 and 2014. This recent settlement agreement marks the largest for J&J thus far. Payout amounts in this settlement will vary, based on the merits of each case. Johnson & Johnson also indicated in their October filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that they have put aside an undisclosed amount for the remaining lawsuits still pending.
The large majority of vaginal mesh lawsuits involving Johnson & Johnson products are coordinated in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. The judge overseeing the litigation, U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin, is also overseeing coordination of lawsuits involving five other mesh manufacturers.
Judge Goodwin had suggested settling, stating in December, “I can’t imagine a corporation facing potentially billions of dollars in verdicts wouldn’t find it advisable to try and achieve a settlement for a much lesser sum.”
If you or someone you love has been injured by a defective medical device, you may be entitled to monetary damages for your injuries, medical expenses and other non-economic losses. Contact The Sanders Firm at 1.800.FAIR.PLAY for a free case evaluation with experienced transvaginal mesh lawyers.
- Bloomberg, J&J to Pay $120 Million in its First Big Mesh Settlement, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-27/j-j-said-to-pay-120-million-in-its-first-big-mesh-settlement
- FDA, FDA Strengthens Requirements for Surgical Mesh for the Transvaginal Repair of Pelvic Organ Prolapse to Address Safety Risks, http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm479732.htm
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia, MDL 2327 Ethicon, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation, http://www.wvsd.uscourts.gov/MDL/ethicon/
- FDA, Update on Serious Complications Associated with Transvaginal Placement of Surgical Mesh for Pelvic Organ Prolapse: FDA Safety Communication, http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm262435.htm