The Corporate Action Network launched an unprecedented campaign to hold Johnson & Johnson and its top executives accountable for its production of transvaginal mesh products that injured thousands of women. The organization is entitled “Johnson & Johnson Hurts Women.” The organization submitted a letter to Senator Kay Hagan stating that “as many as 30 percent of women implanted are unable to work and function and are referred to pain management. What the future hold for these woman as the mesh continues to degrade inside their bodies is unknown as the company chose not to study the long-term effects.”
The organization also requests that the Department of Justice take criminal action against Johnson and Johnson for destroying thousands of corporate documents in conjunction with the transvaginal mesh litigation. The letter also stated that an investigation needs to be conducted in relation to Johnson & Johnson paying a physician $800,000 in exchange for his influence over the regulatory approval process for transvaginal mesh.
Members of the organization protested at Johnson & Johnson’s annual shareholder meeting this year. Several women disclosed stories about how they have undergone several corrective surgeries and can no longer engage in intercourse. Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky stated that he was sorry to hear about the problems women were experiencing but that the company puts safety first.
Recently, Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a Texas jury to pay $1.2 million to a woman who was affected by the vaginal mesh products. The jury found that the company was responsible for Ms. Batiste’s injuries. In February 2013, a jury ruled that Johnson & Johnson must pay $3.35 million for injuries related to the mesh. The plaintiff in that case underwent 18 surgeries to attempt to correct the damage caused by the mesh and was continuing to receive ongoing treatment.
In 2012, Johnson & Johnson stopped selling several of its devices claiming that it was a business decision and not related to the thousands of lawsuits pending against them. As we previously reported, on April 29, 2014, the FDA reclassified mesh products utilized for “pelvic organ prolapsed” as high risk devices. This will require manufacturers to analyze the safety and effectiveness of the product before it receives FDA approval. While this is a step in the right direction, it comes years after women have suffered serious injuries associated with mesh products.