Many plaintiffs and would-be plaintiffs watched the New Jersey lawsuit filed by Linda Gross over the Prolift vaginal mesh device kit. The suit against Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon recently resulted in an $11.1 million award, leaving many wondering how this ruling will affect future cases and if a precedent has been set.
With numerous lawsuits having been filed against other manufacturers of vaginal mesh implants that are similar to the Prolift device, it is not far-fetched to wonder if lawsuits pending against these manufacturers will also bring about big awards for the plaintiffs. After all, other devices made by different manufacturers — including Coloplast, American Medical Systems, Boston Scientific and C.R. Bard — are just as dangerous.
Vaginal mesh devices are used as a treatment for stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, conditions caused by childbirth and/or menopause. Side effects linked to the devices include vaginal scarring, erosion, infections and painful intercourse, among others. Even the Department of Justice is investigating the potentially illegal marketing practices of Ethicon’s Prolift device, which may also result in investigations into the other manufacturers. If it is found that all of the makers of vaginal mesh devices illegally marketed their devices as well, things could turn out badly for all of them.
With any luck, vaginal mesh device kit manufacturers will end up like GlaxoSmithKline did and actually get a conviction against them. And, like Bayer, the manufacturers may also be forced into reaching settlement agreements that could cost them billions as well. It finally seems as if big pharma may be close to being forced into putting their customers ahead of profits. In the end, the problems faced by pharmaceutical companies like Glaxo, Bayer and numerous others over their fraudulent practices may finally prove to be too much for them to take and patients may be able to find safer drug alternatives in the future.