Hundreds of Australian women left in excruciating pain by faulty transvaginal mesh devices have won a landmark case against multinational giant Johnson & Johnson. According to a report in The Guardian, the Australian class action against companies owned by Johnson & Johnson – watched closely across the world – was won on behalf of 1,350 women who had mesh and tape products implanted to treat pelvic prolapse or stress urinary incontinence, both common complications of childbirth. Women using this product have been left in severe, debilitating and chronic pain, and often unable to have intercourse.
The report says the vast majority also suffered a significant psychological toll. The mesh eroded internally in many cases, has caused infections, multiple complications, and is near impossible to completely remove, Australia’s Federal Court has heard.
Federal Court Justice Anna Katzmann found the companies engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and negligence by rushing the products on to market, despite knowing the risks. “The risks were known, not insignificant, and on the respondents’ own admission, could cause significant and serious harm if they eventuated,” Katzmann found. “A far more cautious approach was warranted than the respondents took.” She said the companies viewed the ‘commercial opportunities’ of the devices and were “keen to exploit them before their competitors beat them to it”.
The report says the case has taken a long time to wind through Australia’s Federal Court. The hearing began in mid-2017, spanning until February 2018, when Katzmann began her deliberations. It has been described as one of Australia’s largest product liability class actions. Johnson & Johnson can still appeal.The Guardian report