Johnson & Johnson’s losing streak in pelvic mesh litigation in Philadelphia ended on Friday as a jury rejected claims that a defective implant had left a woman facing the prospect of a lifetime of chronic pain.
Jurors agreed that J&J subsidiary Ethicon Inc. had both defectively designed its so-called TVT Secur pelvic mesh, which plaintiff Kimberly Adkins was implanted with in July 2010 to treat her urinary stress incontinence, and failed to provide adequate warnings about its risks, but declined to back claims that the Ohio resident had suffered any injuries as a result.
Ethicon’s victory comes after losses in four prior mesh-related cases dating back to December 2015 that have left the company facing nearly $50 million in damages.
The verdict came after an Ethicon attorney admitted during closing arguments that there was potentially troubling evidence that the company had rushed TVT Secur to market despite internal concerns regarding the potential for high failure rates and medical complications among women using the product.
“There’s some things that trouble you about this case, no question,” said William Gage, an attorney with Butler Snow LLP representing Ethicon.
But he stressed that there was clear evidence in Adkins’ medical record showing that her physician had clearly communicated the risk, as eventually happened, that the implant could erode into her vaginal canal.
“She was warned about erosion, and erosion is why she’s here,” he said. “You have no evidence [her doctor] didn’t know these risks.”
While Adkins claimed that erosion was not listed as a risk in the product’s instructions for use, or IFUs, Gage said that erosion was commonly understood in the medical community as a potential consequence from any pelvic mesh implant.
“The IFU is not the only source of risk information for doctors,” he said.
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