$120 million sounds like a lot of money. It is. That figure is reportedly part of an effort to settle lawsuits by women who claim they've suffered injury due to transvaginal mesh implants. But it would be wrong to think that this development marks the end of the fight over these dangerous medical devices.
According to reports, Johnson & Johnson is set pay more than that amount to end several thousand claims. But some 42,000 vaginal implant lawsuits are still pending. Resolution of those claims and others that might surface going forward will take yet more time.
For its part, a J&J spokesman neither confirms nor denies the settlement reports. He says only that at times the company has agreed to resolve some cases. But he says he won't discuss the terms of such deals or matters related to ongoing litigation.
In case you may be unfamiliar with this issue, surgical mesh has been used for years to correct such things as abdominal hernias, stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse (POP). Implantation was done through the abdomen. But in the 1990s, doctors began doing transvaginal implants in women to correct POP. It was claimed that this procedure was less invasive and safer.
In recent years, though, the Food and Drug Administration says thousands of women have reported complications with their POP surgeries. Complaints commonly include intense pelvic pain, pain during intercourse, vaginal bleeding, infections and perforation of organs. Apparently the mesh can shift and erode into surrounding tissue.
The first mesh to win FDA approval for transvaginal use got the nod in 2002, but since then concerns have increased. And just last month, the agency issued new rules to address safety issues. One reclassifies the devices as high-risk. The other requires makers to provide better evidence of their claims of product safety and efficacy.
Medical devices prescribed by doctors are supposed to do more good than harm. When the opposite occurs because of defect, victims in Ohio facing the challenge of seeking due compensation should be consulting an attorney with relevant experience.