An appeal by Johnson & Johnson has been dismissed by the Federal Court, meaning the company must pay $2.6 million to women who suffered complications from faulty pelvic mesh implants.
The landmark ruling went in favour of women who suffered severe issues stemming from defective prolapse mesh and incontinence tape implants sold by Johnson & Johnson.
Registered nurse Peta Bennett had the implant in 2004 and has suffered severe pain, incontinence, and even a heart attack since then.
“It has been a long road,” Ms Bennett said today.
“I had a chronic cough that was driving everyone crazy, I went to the doctors and they said I think you have far worse troubles than the cough and I ended up in surgery.”
She recalls scribbling the name of the implant – TVT – on a piece of paper.
“I have still got it. I’ve kept it, I thought I think I need to keep.
“That was back then. I did not know anything. Nothing.
“I thought that was just how life goes again, I was better for a while until I started getting pain in the pelvis, and it kept getting worse and worse and worse, and other things would happen.
Ms Bennett went back to the GP after the severe pain became too much to handle and had multiple surgeries.
“I was sent to a gynaecologist who operated in 2016, and then another surgeon operated the body after that operation, and I ended up in America with a surgeon over there with multitudes of things during the surgery to try and remove the mesh, and I am so grateful to him,” she said.
“I could not get that done in Australia and I am very glad that I went during the pandemic to get that done, it had to be done, so I was very careful,” Ms Bennett said.
The class action against Johnson & Johnson began in 2012, and went to a seven-month trial starting in July 2017, before the 1500 page findings were handed down in favour of the women
More than 10,000 women have joined the action managed by Shine Lawyers, making it one of the largest in Australian history.
Johnson & Johnson will now have to pay three lead applicants a total of $2.6 million and the remaining members of the class action can now bring individual claims for compensation which will be assessed by the Federal Court.
Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, issued a statement saying it believes it acted ethically.
“Ethicon empathises with all women who experience medical complications.
“Ethicon believes it acted ethically and responsibly in the research, development and supply of its pelvic mesh products and stress urinary incontinence tape products and appropriately and responsibly communicated the benefits and risks to doctors and patients in Australia.
“Ethicon is reviewing the Full Court decision announced today and will consider its options.”
Email reporter Freya Noble at firstname.lastname@example.org.