Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) has agreed to pay $9.9 million to settle a suit it faced from Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson over a failure to include serious risks in instructions and marketing materials for surgical mesh devices, according to a Washington State Office of the Attorney General release.
Approximately 14,000 women in Washington State have had surgical mesh devices implanted, according to the AG’s report, which estimates that hundreds of those women “have been adversely impacted so far, ranging from having to go back for another procedure, to having their quality of life impacted dramatically.”
The trial over the suit, which was filed by AG Ferguson in May 2016, was slated to begin today, according to the report.
In the suit, AG Ferguson asserted that Johnson & Johnson violated Washington’s Consumer Protection Act by “failing to include several serious, life-altering risks associated with its surgical mesh devices in materials for patients and doctors.”
Women in the state reported experiencing pain, suffering and life-altering complications that Johnson & Johnson allegedly knew were associated with the device, according to the AG report. Complications included chronic pain, pain during sexual intercourse, urinary issues and that the mesh devices were “very difficult and sometimes impossible to remove.”
“Johnson & Johnson’s knowing deception caused Washington women to suffer in deeply personal ways. I’m proud of my team for holding a powerful interest accountable for its egregious conduct — and look forward to providing millions of dollars in relief to assist those who were harmed,” AG Ferguson said in a press release.
The settlement payment of $9.9 million will be used to assist women who received pelvic mesh implants, and comes in addition to any recovery those patients receive in a personal injury lawsuit.
The Washington AG’s Office said that it will announce a formal claims process in the future, but due to privacy protections the Office does not know names of the women implanted with the devices and urged them to reach out to a claims administrator.
In addition to the payment, Johnson & Johnson will be prohibited from making unfair or deceptive statements regarding surgical mesh devices and must disclose any further risks discovered associated with them.
In late 2016, Kentucky joined California and Washington state in suing J&J and its subsidiary Ethicon over its pelvic mesh products, accusing the company of deceptively marketing its treatments for female urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.
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