A trial has commenced, against Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and it's subsidiary Ethicon brought by a state attorney general and attorneys for the state of California for allegedly deceiving up to 50,000 California women and hiding the possible painful, lifelong complications caused by using its pelvic mesh devices.
On the first day of the bench trial, California Deputy Attorney General Jinsook Ohta told San Diego County Superior Court Judge Eddie Sturgeon that the defendants lied about the safety of two lines of mesh products: Tension-free Vaginal Tape or TVT, used to treat stress urinary incontinence and Prolift, used to treat pelvic organ prolapse. Judge Ohta also claimed that the polypropylene mesh used in the products could degrade and fray, could be rejected by the patient’s body, could become enmeshed in a lump of scar tissue, and could become “colonized” by bacteria. J&J refused these possible complications and only mentioned the risk of erosion.
The state would be seeking $5,000 in civil penalties for each of J&J’s violations and $2,500 each for violating the state’s False Advertising Law and Unfair Competition Law, as per the judge.
U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin is presiding overall Ethicon pelvic mesh lawsuits consolidated under multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2327; In Re: Ethicon, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation) in the Southern District of West Virginia.