NHS, vaginal mesh implant manufacturers to be sued by more than 800 women in UK

More than 800 women in the UK are preparing to sue the NHS and vaginal mesh implant manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson, due to pain and injury related to the devices. Johnson & Johnson's Ethicon subsidiary said it was "vigorously defending litigation." 

According to NHS data, more than 92 000 women had vaginal mesh implants in England between April 2007 and March 2015, with about 9 percent of these women experiencing problems, such as being left unable to walk due to pain, while in the most extreme cases the devices allegedly caused lacerations, the data suggest. However, most surgeons reportedly estimate that between 1 percent and 3 percent of women experience adverse effects from the mesh. 

Specifically, MHRA data from 2012 to 2017 suggest that there were 703 adverse incidents about stress urinary incontinence related to the mesh implants, while a further 346 adverse incidents were reported for patients with the devices suffering pelvic organ prolapse. A spokesman for the MHRA said the organisation was "committed to help address the serious concerns raised by some patients," adding that "the greater proportion of the clinical community and patients support the use of these devices in the UK." 

Experts suggest that if the women are successful in their case, the NHS payout for compensation could reach tens of millions of pounds. Meanwhile, a number of companies in the US are facing lawsuits over transvaginal mesh products. Last May, Johnson & Johnson was sued by the states of Washington and California over claims that the company misrepresented the risks of vaginal mesh implants it sold to repair pelvic organ collapse.

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