Documents that have been released as part of the litigation regarding vaginal mesh products appear to highlight strong ties between the medical community and pharmaceutical companies. These documents have generated an even more intense level of concern than what previously existed. This concern relates to the feeling that pharmaceutical companies are influencing doctors regarding how they should provide healthcare to their patients. The documents are related to lawsuits that were filed in response to consumers using allegedly defective vaginal mesh products. Specifically, the litigation involves Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
Thousands of Ethicon vaginal mesh lawsuits have been filed by women who claim that they were severely injured because of using these products. These lawsuits have been combined into one large action, known as a Multi-District Litigation or MDL. As is the case with any lawsuit, there is a discovery phase that occurs before trial. The Ethicon mesh lawsuit discovery phase recently led to the release of documents between the vaginal mesh manufacturer and doctors that raise serious ethical questions. These questions may ultimately lead to the discovery that patients were not treated with a proper level of care.
A recent report by the Wall Street Journal, a link to which can be found here (subscription-based), shed light on what was contained in some of these documents. The article focused on a particular doctor who was paid $800,000 as a consultant for Johnson & Johnson regarding its Ethicon Gynecare vaginal mesh product. As the product was coming to market, the ACOG, or American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists was getting set to publish practice guidelines. These practice guidelines would have referred to transvaginal mesh products as experimental.
According to the set of documents released by the court, this doctor exercised his influence and encouraged others to do the same on the ACOG. While no direct link has been proven, the ACOG did decide to drop the word ‘experimental’ from its guidelines. Subsequent emails showed a level of celebration and satisfaction on the part of that doctor. Additional emails seemed to indicate that Johnson & Johnson was aware of this influence and that the company wanted to stay out of the spotlight regarding how this wording was changed.
Clearly, transvaginal mesh products that are used to treat Pelvic Organ Prolapse or POP have since come to penetrate the market deeply. Many medical device and pharmaceutical products generate billions of dollars in revenue, but they can also lead to irreparable harm to thousands of people. These Ethicon transvaginal mesh lawsuits are only one example of what can go wrong when people trust their doctors. Many of these doctors rightfully trusted practice guidelines before recommending solutions.
If all of this is true, then the people responsible for this degree of harm need to be held accountable. The same holds true for any manufacturer of any medical product and any doctor who takes part in influencing healthcare recommendations for potentially improper reasons. If you or someone you love has been injured by this or any other product of this type, contact the transvaginal mesh lawyers at Parilman & Associates today to schedule a free initial consultation. You can either email the firm or call 800-800-DRUG.