J&J smacked with Canadian lawsuit claiming vaginal mesh implant damage

Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) and two of its subsidiaries can add yet another lawsuit to the massive cluster in the pipeline claiming health problems stemming from vaginal mesh implants. The latest plaintiff, a Canadian woman, is seeking $5 million in damages.

The Chronicle Herald reports that the patient--Virginia Corkum--is also targeting Ethicon and Gynecare Worldwide in her lawsuit. They're the two J&J divisions involved in developing the Gynecare Tension Free Vaginal Tape-Obturator sling mesh.

A Johnson & Johnson spokesperson told the newspaper that the company doesn't comment on "matters of litigation." Corkum alleges her 2008 Gynecare implant, intended to treat bladder prolapse, left her with constant pain, recurring infections and the inability to have sexual intercourse. In addition, she has trouble urinating and is left having to self-catheterize, according to the lawsuit details cited by the story, and blames the implant for causing the problems. As well, Corkum alleges that J&J either knew or should have known that the polypropylene mesh implant could lead to injury and health problems.

Corkum filed her lawsuit in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax, the story notes, and at least one other patient has a similar, earlier suit pending there against the company.

Thousands of lawsuits alleging unsafe vaginal mesh implants are building up against J&J, C.R. Bard ($BCR), Boston Scientific ($BSX), Endo Health Solutions ($ENDP) and others. And the FDA is soliciting safety data from 31 vaginal mesh implant manufacturers.

One suit came to an abrupt end last week. A civil trial had just begin against Bard, involving allegations that the company's Avaulta Plus implant caused major health problems and physical damage, and that the company sold it even though it knew it was unsafe. But as Bloomberg reports, the federal judge in the case declared a mistrial, alleging that an expert improperly veered into talking about the device's marketing, which had been forbidden.

- read The Chronicle Herald story
- here's Bloomberg's Bard update