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Trial Begins in Ethicon Pelvic Mesh Case

Jan 29, 2015

On Monday in Bakersfield, California, the trial began in the first case over an Ethicon pelvic mesh sling, one of many such devices named in thousands of lawsuits across the country.

The case involves Ethicon’s TVT-Abbrevo pelvic mesh sling, a device implanted in women to treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI) – involuntary loss of urine during physical movement or activity. The TVT-Abbrevo is one of the company’s newest products. The plaintiff in the case had the device implanted in 2011 then had it removed the next year because she was suffering pain and continued urinary problems, National Law Journal reports.

Most of the lawsuits over pelvic mesh devices, including those against Ethicon, are pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. Some cases have been filed in state courts, including the current case, which was filed in 2013 in Kern County, Calif., Superior Court, according to National Law Journal.

Johnson & Johnson, Ethicon’s parent company, and other pelvic mesh manufacturers, face 60,000 lawsuits alleging that the devices are defective and cause serious injuries and complications, including mesh erosion through the vagina (also called exposure, extrusion, or protrusion), pain, infection bleeding, pain during sexual intercourse, organ perforation, and urinary problems. In July 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an updated safety communication about serious complications associated with transvaginal mesh, and in 2012 the agency ordered manufacturers to conduct studies to address safety and effectiveness concerns related to transvaginal mesh implants.

In 2012, a Bakersfield jury awarded $5.5 million in the first trial over a pelvic mesh device. That verdict, against C.R. Bard Inc., was upheld by a California appellate court, National Law Journal reports.

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