Australian court dismisses J&J’s appeal in pelvic mesh class action
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Australian court dismisses J&J’s appeal in pelvic mesh class action

05 Mar 2021

The Federal Court of Australia has dismissed Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) appeal against a ruling that its subsidiary Ethicon misled patients and surgeons on the risks related to its pelvic mesh implants.

Australian court dismisses J&J’s appeal in pelvic mesh class action
Johnson & Johnson Headquarters in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Credit: Ekem.

The Federal Court of Australia has dismissed Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) appeal against a ruling that its subsidiary Ethicon misled patients and surgeons on the risks related to its pelvic mesh implants.

The full bench of the court upheld a decision given in November 2019 by a federal court judge, Reuters reported.

It found that Ethicon sold the implants to women for treating urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse without giving proper warning on the serious risks and was negligent in a hurry to push the products to market before necessary testing.

Last year, J&J appealed the ruling when it was ordered to pay a compensation of a total of A$2.6m ($2m), as well as legal costs to three women, who led the class action.

There are more than 1,350 women in the class action.

Shine Justice, which ran the class action, said: “The appeal decision paves the way to secure damages for all group members represented by the applicants in the coming months.”

In an emailed statement, J&J told the news agency: “Ethicon believes it acted ethically and responsibly in the research, development, and supply of its transvaginal mesh products and appropriately and responsibly communicated the benefits and risks to doctors and patients in Australia.”

This ruling is the latest development among the mesh-related lawsuits against J&J.

The company was ordered to pay $120m in damages to a patient named Susan McFarland by a Philadelphia court in 2019.

J&J was also ordered to pay $344m for false and deceptive marketing of pelvic mesh products by a California judge last year, and has settled claims with the state of Washington for $9.9m and a coalition of 41 states and the District of Columbia for $117m. Medtech giant BD has also settled a similar multistate litigation related to pelvic mesh implants.

In October BD paid $60m to the District of Columbia and every US state except West Virginia and Wyoming, following allegations that its subsidiary, C. R. Bard, deceptively marketed transvaginal surgical mesh to patients and practitioners.

Shine Head of Class Actions Jan Saddler said: “While appealing is the right of any unsuccessful party to the litigation, we welcome the Full Court’s decision to dismiss this challenge.

“The decision will deliver justice for thousands of women who have been left with life-altering complications.”