December 21, 2015 — Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon subsidiary has been ordered to pay $5.5 million to a woman who was injured by the Prolift vaginal mesh, according to Law360.
The woman, Patricia Hammons, is a Walmart shelf stocker from Indiana who had complications caused by a sagging pelvic organs — a common complication of pregnancy in middle-aged women.
In 2009, she had surgery to help support her bladder and she was implanted with the Prolift. Soon afterward, she complained about pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia) that was so severe she had to stop relations with her boyfriend.
Hammons claims the implant is defective because it can erode into nearby tissues and puncture organs. She also accuses Johnson & Johnson of intentionally concealing the risks from doctors and patients.
The company is now facing nearly 30,000 lawsuits in one federal court in West Virginia. Last year, a nurse from South Dakota named Linda Gross was awarded $11.1 million for injuries caused by the Prolift, including chronic pain and dyspareunia.
In June 2012, the Prolift was pulled off the market just months after the FDA asked manufacturers to conduct safety studies. In 2007 and 2008, the Prolift was also sold for nine months without clearance from the FDA. According to Bloomberg, the Prolift design was based on a similar device that was recalled more than a decade ago for safety reasons.
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