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Eric T. Chaffin
Eric T. Chaffin
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Johnson & Johnson to Pay Penalty in Vaginal Mesh Litigation

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On February 4, 2014, Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon were ordered by a judge to pay for not preserving evidence in In re Ethicon, Inc. Pelvic Repair Systems Product Liability Litigation.  This litigation comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration received reports from hundreds of women who claimed they suffered serious complications as a result of transvaginal mesh.  The MDL has been established in the United States District Court for the Southern Division of West Virginia, Charleston Division.

Plaintiffs Said Johnson & Johnson Failed To Preserve Documents

The Ethicon MDL was established in 2012 (2:12-md-02327).  The Plaintiffs claimed Ethicon, Inc. didn’t preserve documents that likely contained information relevant to Plaintiffs’ claims from former and current employees.  Plaintiffs filed a Motion for a Finding of Spoliation and for Sanctions.  Attorneys for Ethicon, Inc. said they discovered the documents were “inadvertently not retained” when the employees left the company and this was “primarily from a misunderstanding.”
West Virginia Magistrate Judge Cheryl A. Eifert granted Plaintiff’s request for monetary sanctions and reasonable costs against defendant Ethicon, Inc. for not preserving potentially relevant evidence.
 
Vaginal Mesh Injuries & Complications

The FDA issued a letter to physicians in October 2008 letting them know about complications associated with “transvaginal placement of surgical mesh.”  The release stated that over the past three years they received over 1,000 reports of complications from 9 surgical mesh manufacturers.

In 2011, the FDA issued an update on the safety concerns with the transvaginal placement of surgical mesh.  The FDA said from 2008-2010 it received reports of complications from patients including: mesh erosion through the vagina; infection; pain; pain during sexual intercourse; bleeding; urinary problems and organ perforation.

Vaginal mesh is used to treat women who suffer from pelvic organ prolapse, which is when a pelvic organ, like your bladder, drops and pushes against the wall of your vagina.  Transvaginal mesh is also used to treat women with stress incontinence.  Stress incontinence is the inability to hold your urine during physical activity.
Surgical mesh can also be used to help treat hernias.

Report Side Effects

You should report any side effects to your doctor immediately.  The FDA is working to improve the safety of transvaginal mesh.  You should submit a MedWatch Form if you have suffered serious consequences due to the surgical implant of a vaginal mesh.