Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Ethicon arm has been ordered to pay $1.2 million in damages in a trial alleging it produced faulty vaginal mesh that was implanted into a 64-year-old woman.
The jury's decision in a state court in Dallas awarded the money as compensatory damages, Bloomberg reported. But Ethicon noted in its disclosure about the verdict that jurors declined to award punitive damages. While the jury found that the company's TVT-O pelvic mesh was defectively designed, it also ruled that Ethicon properly issued notification of known risks related to the implant, which is used in women to treat stress urinary incontinence. Ethicon termed it a "mixed verdict," and promised an appeal.
"We believe the evidence showed Ethicon's TVT-O pelvic mesh was properly designed and that Ethicon acted appropriately and responsibly in the research, development and marketing of the product," Matthew Johnson, Ethicon's director of communications, said in a statement. "The jury's verdict on design defect is disappointing and we believe we have strong grounds for an appeal."
Bloomberg's coverage of the trial notes that J&J decided to stop selling some of its vaginal-mesh implants in 2012 after an influx of lawsuits, but the TVTO-sling remains on the market.
In another case from last year, J&J/Ethicon was ordered on appeal to fork over $11.1 million to resolve a vaginal mesh case involving its Gynecare Prolift transvaginal mesh device. A New Jersey jury last year found that the company knew about complications relating to the device but didn't warn the plaintiff and continued to market the product. The case was among the first J&J vaginal implant lawsuits to go to trial.
It's not all bad against J&J. A U.S. District Court judge recently threw out another lawsuit alleging another J&J vaginal mesh insert was defective. But more than 12,00 vaginal mesh lawsuits against J&J/Ethicon remain in force, Bloomberg noted, many of which are consolidated before a West Virginia federal judge.
On the other hand, a U.S. Magistrate judge ruled recently that J&J wrongly eliminated thousands of key documents relating to its vaginal mesh product development, due to apparent negligent. A patient advocacy group is demanding a federal investigation into the matter.
Companies including Boston Scientific ($BSX), C.R. Bard ($BCR) and Endo Health Solutions ($ENDP) also face a number of suits related to their own vaginal mesh implants, but rumors continue that some are seeking a settlement.
- read the Ethicon announcement
- here's the Bloomberg story