Johnson & Johnson settlement on surgical mesh includes $2.8 million for Arizona

Arizona will receive $2.8 million from a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson that states the company failed to disclose to doctors and patients that complications caused by the meshes may be irreversible. (Photo by Tim Evanson/Creative Commons)

PHOENIX – Arizona will receive $2.8 million of a nearly $117 million settlement. Johnson & Johnson has reached over safety concerns and misleading marketing of a surgical mesh used to treat urinary incontinence and other pelvic floor disorders, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said Friday.

The nationwide settlement involved transvaginal surgical meshes implanted to treat a variety of pelvic floor issues. But state prosecutors in 41 states and the District of Columbia said it caused pain, incontinence, sexual dysfunction and tissue distortion.

In a statement, Brnovich’s office said Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Ethicon Inc., agreed to pay $2.8 million to Arizona in penalties. It also called for a stop to inaccurate safety claims and reform in “how Ethicon markets and trains health-care providers” on the products.

The Arizona lawsuit states that the company failed to disclose to doctors and patients that complications caused by the meshes may be irreversible. The mesh is meant to “integrate into the body,” but the companies did not reveal that such integration could make removal difficult to nearly impossible, the suit says. Instead, Ethicon blamed complications on physicians.

Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon did not admit fault, they said in a statement that the settlement does not equate to an admission of liability. In a statement on their website regarding ethical sales and marketing practices, the company states that they strive “to operate with the highest standards of business conduct and transparency through all communications with patients, consumers, healthcare professionals and other stakeholders.”

The company faces multiple additional lawsuits, including one alleging the company understated the risks and overstated the benefits of opioids. The company also has fought 14,000 lawsuits claiming its baby powder causes ovarian cancer.

The company also recalled 33,000 bottles of their baby powder on Friday after the Food and Drug Administration found evidence of a known carcinogen in one bottle. Johnson & Johnson said in a statement on their website that they are investigating.

Social Justice Reporter, Phoenix