California Ethicon Mesh Judgement Results in $344 Million Fine for J&J

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Six months after the transvaginal mesh trial involving Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon Inc. began, San Diego Superior Court Judge Eddie Sturgeon released an 88-page statement siding with the State of California’s claims that Ethicon violated false advertising and unfair competition laws in the state. The Ethicon mesh judgment that was rendered carried with it a fine of $343,993,750.

According to Judge Sturgeon, the Ethicon mesh judgment was “proven by a preponderance of the evidence that defendants deceptively marketed their pelvic mesh products in the state of California and that their marketing was likely to deceive reasonable doctors and reasonable lay consumers, . . . about the risks and dangers of these products.” The products in question were Ethicon’s Tension-free Vaginal Tape (TVT) and Prolift meshes.

In the full statement released with the Ethicon mesh judgment, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra wrote that “Johnson & Johnson intentionally concealed the risks of its pelvic mesh implant devices,” and in doing so, the conglomerate “robbed women and their doctors of their ability to make informed decisions.”

Becerra also made a point to explicitly assign blame, stating “Johnson & Johnson knew the danger of its mesh products but put profits ahead of the health of millions of women.”

In response to the judgment, Ethicon announced plans to appeal the decision. The company maintains it “responsibly communicated the risks and benefits of its transvaginal mesh products to doctors and patients,” and said the decision “disregards the company’s full compliance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration laws.”

The decision in California v. Johnson & Johnson et al. was provided on Jan. 30, 2020.

Read the Statement of Decision.

By James Parker

James Parker is a content writer from Coral Springs, Florida. He majored in Communication and Media Studies at Stetson University, where he spent much of his time bringing the cutting edge of medical research to his peers’ attention. When he’s not writing, he enjoys rewatching “Almost Famous” or curling up with a good book.

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