Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) subsidiary Mentor Worldwide’s silicone breast implants are accused of causing muscle pain, nausea and other symptoms in a product liability lawsuit reportedly filed in California state court last week.
Mentor allegedly failed to run adequate clinical studies establishing the implants’ safety, plaintiff Rexine Mize claimed in the lawsuit, according to Bloomberg. The implants leak silicone, leading to a variety of ailments, according to the suit.
Mentor, Allergan (NYSE: AGN) and Sientra (NSDQ:SIEN) are the only companies licensed to sell silicone implants in the U.S. since the FDA lifted a 14-year ban back in 2006. All could face another wave of lawsuits, harkening back to the 1980s and 1990s, when silicone-filled implants were the targets for a spate of similar lawsuits.
“We believe the problems with Mentor’s silicone implant are pervasive and may have harmed thousands of women,” Mize’s lawyer, Jaime Moss, told the news service. “This suit may be just the tip of the iceberg.”
J&J spokesman Ernie Knewitz didn’t immediately return calls last week seeking comment, Bloomberg reported.
Last fall another plaintiff filed suit in a Golden State federal court, asserting similar claims against Mentor’s MemoryGel implants.
J&J paid $1.1 billion for Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Mentor in December 2008, after it became the 1st company allowed to put silicone implants back on the market after they were banned in 1992. A flood of lawsuits back then forced Dow Corning – the largest silicone implant maker at the time – to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May 1995.