December 2017: A New Jersey jury awarded plaintiffs $15 million in a transvaginal mesh action. The suit involved Ethicon Inc., and its parent Johnson & Johnson’s Prolift surgical mesh device. Juries have awarded several multimillion dollar verdicts for plaintiffs in mesh-related cases, including a $57 million dollar verdict against J&J in September 2017.
Prolift, like several other Ethicon/J&J surgical mesh products, contained polypropylene mesh. Despite J&J’s claims otherwise, scientific evidence shows that the mesh material is biologically incompatible with human tissue and promotes an immune response in a significant numbers of patients. The immune response can result in the breakdown of the polypropylene, as well as the surrounding tissue. Injuries and complications suffered by patients include erosion of the mesh, infection, inflammation, scar tissue development, organ perforation, nerve damage, severe pain and other very serious conditions.
Suits have alleged that Johnson & Johnson knew of the risks associated with its products but deceptively marketed them anyway. In response to a significant number of patients suffering serious injuries from J&J’s mesh products, the FDA ordered the company to cease production on its Prolift mesh until it conducted extensive testing and research. In response, J&J removed Prolift from the market in 2012. Nevertheless, J&J continued to market and promote other polypropylene mesh products, including Physiomesh, despite high rates of patients and surgeon complaints about product complications and injuries.
However, in May 2016, in response to mounting complaints from patients and surgeons using Physiomesh, and data from two independent mesh registries clearly demonstrating serious complications and failure rates with Physiomesh, Ethicon/J&J preemptively issued an urgent safety notice immediately withdrawing its product from the market.