Australian women win vaginal mesh lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson

The company logo for Johnson & Johnson.
The company logo for Johnson & Johnson. Photo credit: Reuters

Hundreds of women injured by faulty vaginal mesh implants have won a class-action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson in Australia.

The company was found to have sold the devices without undergoing proper testing and knowing their potential risks.

The lawsuit was launched in the country's Federal Court on behalf of more than 700 women against various companies owned by Johnson & Johnson.

The court found that the companies knew the risk associated with the devices yet sold them anyway, minimising their dangers and exaggerating their benefits, reports The Guardian.

During the lawsuit, women using the implants were used as "guinea pigs" by the company which adopted a "sell first, test later" mentality, the country's Federal Court heard. 

Justice Anna Katzman said testing of the devices was deficient but the companies were "keen to exploit them before their competitors beat them to it".

Earlier this year, lawyer Rebecca Jancauskas said the mesh was used to repair pelvic floors but its side effects left many women with severe, debilitating and chronic pain.

 "The complications that Australian women are suffering include the mesh or tape eroding through, and into, surrounding tissue and organs, as well as incontinence, infection and chronic pain," Jancauskas told AAP at the time.

"Many now live in excruciating pain, suffering terrible side effects that impact all aspects of their lives."

Similar class actions have also been undertaken in the US, UK and Canada.

Earlier this year Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay US$117 million (NZ$183 million) in the United States to settle claims after legal action was launched by dozens of states.

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