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October 21, 2019

Maine shares in Johnson & Johnson medical device settlement

Maine will get $1.5 million under a consent agreement between dozens of states and Johnson & Johnson over the company’s alleged deceptive marketing of a medical device.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), the New Jersey-based health products company with more than $80 billion in annual revenues, agreed to pay $116.9 million to 41 states and the District of Columbia, according to a news release last week from Maine Attorney General Aaron M. Frey.

The attorneys general in the case charged that Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Ethicon Inc. did not disclose the dangers of their transvaginal surgical mesh device.

Transvaginal surgical mesh is a synthetic material that is surgically implanted through the vagina to support the pelvic organs of women who suffer from stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse. Possible side effects of the mesh implants include chronic pain and inflammation, incontinence developing after surgery, painful sexual relations and vaginal scarring.

Evidence shows the companies were aware of the possibility for serious medical complications but did not provide sufficient warnings to consumers or surgeons who implanted the devices, according to Frey’s office.

The settlement also requires Johnson & Johnson to provide full disclosure of the risks in promotional material, package inserts, product training for medical professionals and elsewhere.

“It is important for manufacturers of medical devices to accurately disclose the risks and possible side effects of their products,” said Frey. “In this case, patients suffered because Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Ethicon Inc., deceptively marketed their products. This settlement will hopefully lead to greater transparency and patient safety moving forward.”

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