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HomeMedico-LegalJ&J: Australia court awards damages for faulty pelvic mesh implants

J&J: Australia court awards damages for faulty pelvic mesh implants

The Federal Court in Australia has ordered pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson to pay almost $2.6m in damages to three women implanted with faulty pelvic mesh implants, reports ABC News. The mesh devices have left hundreds of Australian women with serious side effects including chronic pain, infections, and the inability to have sex.

Last November the Federal Court ruled in favour of the three lead applicants in a class action of more than 1,350 women who sued Johnson & Johnson and two subsidiaries, including Ethicon. The court found Johnson & Johnson were "negligent", driven by commercial interests, and failed to give appropriate or sufficient remedial action once it knew of problems with the implants. The court had previously heard there could be thousands more women who are not yet aware they have the faulty device in their bodies. Shine Lawyers, who brought the class action, said in the report that the number of women coming forward was still rising in what it described as the largest women's health class action in Australia's history.

Federal Court Justice Anna Katzmann last year said the evidence in the case was "overwhelming" and the devices were not tested properly. It was also found that the companies responsible knew they did not have sufficient data to show the implants were safe.

During the trial, the court heard of a "tidal wave" of aggressive marketing to surgeons and patients that suggested implanting the mesh was a "quick and easy operation". Johnson & Johnson has not said whether it will appeal the judgment or the pay-out. The court is yet to make full orders in the case.

Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon is quoted in the report as saying it "empathises" with the women who experienced complications but believe it acted "ethically and responsibly" in research, development and supply of the implants. "Pelvic mesh has helped improve the quality of life for millions of women with pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence, which are serious, debilitating conditions that can cause daily suffering," the statement read.

"Ethicon supports and encourages informed treatment decisions made by patients in consultation with doctors on the benefits and risks of surgical procedures to treat these debilitating conditions."

[link url="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-03/johnson-and-johnson-damages-for-vaginal-mesh-implants/12021908"]Full ABC News report[/link]

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