Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon Inc., was hit with a $500,000 verdict after a Philadelphia jury found that its defectively designed transvaginal mesh implant cut into a woman’s vaginal wall, leaving her in pain, Law360 reported.
Plaintiff Linda Dunfee was the 11th woman to take Ethicon to court in Philadelphia over injuries allegedly caused by its faulty vaginal mesh, and the ninth to win an award. Hers, however, was the smallest award. So far, Philadelphia juries have hit Ethicon with almost $350 million in damages in cases involving its mesh.
Dunfee received Ethicon’s Prolift mesh in June 2007 to treat pelvic organ prolapse, a condition that occurs when pelvic organs drop and press upon the vagina. Two years later, doctors discovered that the mesh had eroded into her vagina, but it healed on its own. Three years after that, the implant eroded again, cutting into her vagina, and she had to undergo a procedure to have part of the implant removed.
Dunfee claimed that because the mesh was defective, it caused her to suffer painful sexual intercourse. She filed her lawsuit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas in October 2015. Her case was part of a mass tort made up of similar transvaginal mesh lawsuits against Ethicon.
The verdict comes two months after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered manufacturers of transvaginal mesh for pelvic organ prolapse to immediately stop selling and distributing their products in the United States in an effort to protect women from potential risks.
“Since the FDA has not received sufficient evidence to assure that the probable benefits of these devices outweigh their probable risks, the agency has concluded that these products do not have reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness,” the FDA said in its statement.
The FDA also advised women who have received transvaginal mesh for prolapse repair to continue with their annual and other routine check-ups and follow-up care.
“There is no need to take additional action if you are satisfied with your surgery and are not having any complications or symptoms,” the agency said. “You should notify your health care provider if you have complications or symptoms, including persistent vaginal bleeding or discharge, pelvic or groin pain or pain with sex.”