January 11, 2019 -- State lawsuits over pelvic mesh products could scare women away from the products or even get them removed from the market, a group of doctors say.
The products, used to treat pelvic floor disorders and incontinence, are the subjects of lawsuits by Washington, California, Kentucky and Mississippi. The states claim that Johnson & Johnson did not fully disclose safety risks, the Associated Press reported.
But some doctors who specialize in female pelvic medicine oppose the lawsuits.
In Washington, 63 surgeons signed a letter to state Attorney General Bob Ferguson saying the lawsuit is misguided, the AP reported.
"We have served on national and regional medical societies in women's health," wrote Dr. Jeffrey Clemons, a pelvic reconstructive surgeon in Tacoma. "It is astonishing to us that the AG is proceeding with this lawsuit without first availing themselves of the significant experience and expertise of this group."
Doctors in California are drafting a similar letter to Attorney General Xavier Becerra. The president of the American Urogynecologic Society, which has 1,900 members, has issued a statement expressing similar concerns about the lawsuits, the AP reported.
Pelvic mesh products became available in the U.S. in the late 1990s and have been used to treat urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. But in 2008 and 2011, the Food and Drug Administration issued warnings about serious complications with pelvic mesh products used to treat pelvic organ prolapse, including permanent incontinence, severe discomfort and an inability to have sex.
Most of the pelvic mesh products for organ prolapse have been taken off the market in the U.S., the AP reported.
Johnson & Johnson and other companies face liability claims from tens of thousands of women over the products.