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AG Becerra secures nearly $344 million against Johnson and Johnson in pelvic mesh case

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | February 3, 2020
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra secured a Superior Court judgment against Johnson and Johnson for false and deceptive marketing of its pelvic mesh products for women.
Xavier Becerra
Health in America   California Attorney General Xavier Becerra
The California Department of Justice sued Johnson and Johnson in May 2016 after a years-long multistate investigation revealed the company had neglected to inform both patients and doctors of possible severe complications from the products and misrepresented the frequency and severity of risks the products posed.

Topics: Becerra Johnson pelvic mesh

The Department of Justice represented the people of California in a nine-week trial that began July 15, 2019.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Eddie Sturgeon issued the judgment requiring Johnson and Johnson to pay $343.99 million in penalties.

Additional injunctive terms may be added after further briefing.

Thi judgment marks the first time a court of law has issued findings of fact and ruled that Johnson and Johnson did indeed engage in illegal false and deceptive business practices.

The court today affirmed that Johnson and Johnson knew about the potential risks and side effects of their pelvic mesh products prior to their launch.

Yet, the company omitted that information from the products’ instructions for use and omitted and misrepresented the risks in educational and marketing materials provided to doctors and patients.

The pelvic mesh products are permanent surgical implants designed to treat stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse in women.

The lawsuit alleged that Johnson and Johnson misrepresented the safety of these products by concealing and misleading consumers about the possibility of serious and irreversible complications caused by mesh, including permanent pain with intercourse, loss of sexual function, chronic pain, permanent urinary or defecatory dysfunction, and potentially devastating impact on overall quality of life.

From 2008 to 2014, Johnson and Johnson sold more than 470,000 pelvic mesh products nationally, including more than 30,000 in California.

Worldwide, more than 2 million women have had these mesh products implanted in their bodies.

The court affirmed that Johnson and Johnson and its subsidiaries Ethicon Inc. and Ethicon US LLC, violated California’s Unfair Competition Law and False Advertising Law.