Johnson and Johnson offered over $120 million to resolve its first group of transvaginal mesh lawsuits. There are as many as 3,000 cases in this group. The plaintiffs were women who claimed that they suffered complications because of the allegedly defective implants manufactured by Johnson and Johnson's Ethicon unit.
Surgeons insert a net-like piece of plastic through the abdomen or vagina to treat incontinence or sagging organs in women. tens of thousands of women claimed that the synthetic plastic mesh cut through organs and eroded through the walls of their vaginas.
There are more than 42,000 lawsuits pending.
American Medical Systems and Coloplast paid a billion dollars to pay a substantial portion of their cases. C>R> Bard faces about 12,500 federal lawsuits. Boston Scientific is another big mesh producer.
FDA has reclassified mesh as a high risk device. In January 2016, the FDA reclassified mesh implants for use in pelvic organ prolapse from Class II, moderate risk, to Class III, high risk for potential harm or death. Manufacturers will have to do more testing to prove such devices are safe.
Juries have awarded large compensatory and punitive damage awards in some of these cases.