On the eve of trial, Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $9.9 million to settle a lawsuit brought by Washington state accusing the health-care giant of misrepresenting the risks of pelvic mesh implants.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued the New Jersey-based company in 2016, saying it and its subsidiary Ethicon Inc. violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act by failing to tell patients and doctors about the risks and occurrences of dire, sometimes irreversible complications. Those include urinary dysfunction, loss of sexual function, constipation and severe pain. Surgical mesh is intended to provide extra support when repairing weakened or damaged tissue.
Johnson & Johnson did not admit wrongdoing. Trial was to start Monday in King County Superior Court.
Tens of thousands of patients have sued Johnson & Johnson and other companies over the products. Ferguson said the settlement money would be used to help Washington women who had mesh implanted.
About 14,000 Washington women had the devices implanted, according to Ferguson’s office. The office said in a press release it believes hundreds of women have been adversely impacted, ranging from having to go back for another procedure, to having their quality of life affected.
The Attorney General’s Office will announce a formal claims process in the future. Privacy protections have kept the Attorney General’s Office from knowing the names of the women implanted with surgical mesh in the state. Women who want a claims administrator to contact them should notify Ferguson’s office.