Vaginal polymer implants said to caused pain and severe discomfort to over 800 women
Over 800 women who have undergone vaginal mesh implants are taking legal action as they say they have been left in pain. Some say they have also been left unable to walk or have sex.
The women are taking action against the NHS and medical device manufacturers which includes Johnson & Johnson – the largest maker of vaginal mesh. According to the BBC its subsidiary Ethicon was “vigorously defending litigation.”
The implants, which are made from polypropylene, are used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence following childbirth. However, some have been found to cut into the vagina, causing discomfort.
The BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire spoke to several women who had experienced problems with the mesh.
Kate Langley described how she had had to give up work due to the pain caused by the mesh protruding through her vagina. According to Derbyshire, Langley described the meshes as barbaric and has undergone 53 hospital admissions to try and end the pain.
Derbyshire obtained statistics from Hospital Episodes Statistics. It showed that more than 92,000 women had undergone mesh implant surgery in England. Following a review in Scotland, their use has not been recommended for pelvic organ prolapse.
In 2014, the Independent reported that hundreds of women in Scotland were preparing to launch legal action against the makers of vaginal mesh implants.
Last year an allegation was made against Boston Scientific that it had used polypropylene from an area of China known for its use of counterfeit materials and that it had been used in mesh implants used in Scotland.
According to Aberdeen’s Evening Express, Boston Scientific said: “These allegations are simply not true. We stand by our products, our testing and verification of the Marlex used in our products, and we continue to reject any allegations that this resin is counterfeit or adulterated.
“We are working on a number of fronts to ensure the public and the medical communities have accurate information. We are deeply committed to patient safety.”
In 2016 Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay over $120million in relation to 2,000-3,000 US legal cases brought by women who claimed to have suffered organ damage due to vaginal mesh.
In the same year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reclassified surgical mesh for transvaginal repair of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) from a moderate-risk device (class ll) to a high-risk one (class lll) and gave manufacturers 30 months to prove that their products are safe and effective, the agency announced.