AGs in 50 States – Investigate J&J for Mesh Injuries, Costs, Document Destruction

May 28th, 2014 | By | Category: News

canToday Corporate Action Network launched what is planned to be the first of a 50 state campaign to urge the Attorneys General of all 50 states to investigate healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson for mesh-injuries and their related costs and the destruction of documents requested in litigation.

There are presently at least 22,000 product liability lawsuits filed against J&J. Earlier this year a judge ruled the company destroyed hundreds if not thousands of pages of documents requested as part of the discovery process.

The first letters were sent to the Attorney General of California Kamala Harris and signed by ten women harmed by transvaginal mesh used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.  The other signed letter was sent to AG of New York Eric Schneiderman.

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J&J Headquarters, New Brunswick, NJ April 24, 2014

The request asks the company be held accountable for the document destruction including criminal penalties and names J&J CEO Alex Gorsky.  The documents destroyed were under a litigation hold and should have been presented to plaintiffs’ attorneys upon request.

The AG offices have the responsibility to seek reimbursement for the costs associated with a drug or medical device that was fraudulently marketed.  The editor of Mesh News Desk, Jane Akre, is involved in this campaign as a spokesperson.

Pelvic mesh survivors in other states plan to make similar requests to other state Attorneys General in the weeks and months ahead.

See the releases here:

New York
Here

California
Here

 

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38 Comments to “AGs in 50 States – Investigate J&J for Mesh Injuries, Costs, Document Destruction”

  1. All Meshed Up says:

    At least the States will get their money back. This has nothing to do with mesh victims getting compensation, recognition or recompense!. This is all about the States getting monies that THEY paid out for surgeries. And I note that again it is Pelvic mesh victims that are mentioned, Hernia mesh is NOT.
    The States are going after J&J not for us, as mesh victims damaged by a medical device we were told was safe. The Victim’s are not any part of this at all and we will be forgotten after the States get their cash. A great victory will be declared by the States against a terrible product that has done so much damage to it’s citizens and should we not be ever so grateful for their efforts on OUR behalf.
    But J&J will still be selling Mesh products ( that includes Hernia mesh in case anyone has forgotten ) and the Doctors will continue putting them in.
    But at least the States will get their money back! yea…….
    Another great victory for the mesh victim.

  2. George says:

    Thanks Jane!
    This is good news – the medical industry is not above the law and will these investigations will send a strong message to other manufactures to follow the laws in place. G

  3. Mary pat says:

    Thank you Jane. You are tireless and the most awesome patient advocate we could ask for. Attorneys General united is an indomitable force of decent, brilliant, hardworking public servants. Their involvement will help turn the tide in holding big pharma accountable for breaking the law. If they recover money for the state that will aid society as a whole. I wish they could represent victims in civil suits but they can’t. Nevertheless, they do good work and they are powerful.

  4. Carmel Berry says:

    CAN are amazing! Thanks for the report Jane.

  5. Evelyn says:

    Jane thank you so much in helping us try to understand whats going on and getting our story out there.. Love you

  6. Lana Keeton says:

    There are already DOJ investigations in 42 states. None of this action by CAN and Jane Akre stops the companies. Companies have paid more than $20 billion in criminal fines since 1992. Check out POGO a goverment Oversight website. It will benefit Mark Fleischman and his progressive liberal website to raise money for democrats. Mark is an exV.P. of the SEIU, a union which needs victims to advocate for because union membership is so low. Anyone here been helped with their medical expenses by CAN, Jane Akre, or any of these otherassociated groups? Sincerely hope so. All of us really need help.

    • Kitty says:

      Lana perhaps the only thing that will stop the companies is to get the word out to go to the FDA site and comment We are up a few since yesterday to 114. >50K victims???

    • Mary pat says:

      So Lana, are you saying CAN and Jane and DOJ should just give up?????? Did you go to work for big pharma or something? ALL good people and ALL governmental agencies MUST keep fighting for truth and justice no matter how often big pharma tries to buy their way out of their crimes. If we quit, they win. We are in a war. We cannot quit and we appreciate CAN and Jane and anyone who fights alongside us.

      • Jane Akre says:

        Mary Pat- Thanks for the vote of confidence. Let’s take this as an opportunity… I do not want to engage with anyone and this is not a site for “cheap shots” of any kind. Violators will be deleted. But making money has such a negative connotation, as if at the end of the day $300 million windfall will be coming anyone’s way. Really? That is reserved for the lawyers, in the meantime, do you pay for your cable? your newspaper? Unfortunately monies are needed to keep the lights on so you don’t go further into debt… So let’s get it straight- this site is not for people who hate- they need to go elsewhere. And keeping the lights on is a good thing…Done with this discussion. I can’t see how discussing this helps anyone who is on morphine in bed with pain and losing their life…Again Done and thank you.

  7. Lana Keeton says:

    Cheap shot Mary Pat. No I am just pointing out that CAN and Jane Akre are profiting from your pain.

    • Jane Akre says:

      I would love to hear the narrative how anyone is profiting? Could someone please explain that to me in a way that makes sense? Thank you~ ja

  8. Mary pat says:

    No Lana, the pharma companies and a few unscrupulous law firms are profiting from our pain. CAN and Jane and the law firms who are fighighting for justice and fairness are only trying to help the mesh injured and they hope to prevent others from suffering mesh damage. You started Truth In Medicine which was a noble cause and an honorable effort. I would hope that you would appreciate others who join our fight. Why criticize them?
    Jane is right. This website serves a far greater purpose than being a message board for cheap shots. I will honor that from now on, so should you.

  9. All Meshed Up says:

    I think Lana’s post shows the frustration that is prevalent with mesh victims. MDL settlements that are not anywhere near what victims were hoping for or needed, the continued use and advertising of mesh products and finally the slow to non-existent public awareness of all things bad about mesh that includes the FDA. All of these examples and more are what mesh recipients see and hear everyday that contributes to them being ultra-sensitive.
    Lana is correct when she say’s that there was already supposed to be an investigation into J&J for their Hip Replacement product and their fraudulent advertising of mesh products. Basically the States paid for low income people to have a hip replaced or a Hernia or Gynecological problem fixed with J&J little wonders. Now of course, the States are finding out that J&J products are NOT what they state that they are and many of the procedures have gone bad. The States want to recoup those monies and it was announced, as Lana said, over a year ago. I was elated to hear about this announcement and contacted my Attorney General here in Colorado to ask about it. I was immediately referred to the FDA. When I wrote back to them saying what was announced about the investigations and that the State of Colorado could get their money back, I received a rather snarky letter back telling me that this was the FDA’s area of expertise and I should go to them, Thank you very much, now quit bothering us.
    I know for a fact that Bruce tried to do the same thing with California’s Attorney General and got pretty much the same attitude from them.
    So, over a year later, here we are talking about the States investigating the Mesh Manufacturers, again, and hoping that this will bring attention to mesh problems. I applaud this effort and my hopes are with Jane on this.
    But, I do not believe that the States getting their money back will do any good for mesh victims. We may be in the spotlight for a little while but after the hoopla is over, we will still be damaged, in pain and in poverty. The manufacturers will go back to making more mesh products, the Doctors will continue to put them in while lying to the patient, the Lawyers will sign up more victims for yet another MDL and NOTHING will be done to help ALL mesh victims.
    I don’t want to be negative about this effort but until the FDA changes their stance on all things mesh, nothing substantial will be done to help the 100’s of 1000’s of mesh victims that have no hope, no money, no Lawyer, no Doctor and do not see any light at the end of the tunnel. I sure don’t.

    • msm says:

      I have a couple of things that have me confused.

      Won’t the states get their money back anyway if there is a settlement or judgment of any kind? They get their money back after the lawyers and before us. That’s what subrogation is for. Isn’t it?

      Why has the FDA let AMS off the hook from some of the studies:
      “AMS received a total of nineteen class-wide post-market study orders regarding its pelvic floor repair and mini-sling products; however, the FDA agreed to place sixteen of these study orders on hold for a variety of reasons.”
      Those reasons are not explained. Also notice that the FDA is only asking for studies of single incision mini-slings and not the most commonly used type of mid-urethral slings. I find that quite interesting.

      Lastly (for now):
      If AMS products are the “gold standard”, why do they continue to develop new models?

      • Jane Akre says:

        MSM- Please check out the Risperdal settlements to the states…. once it was proven the drug was fraudulently marketed ( by J&J) off label could they recoup $. Of course how many billion dollar settlements can one company take?

        • msm says:

          I guess that’s another incentive for a fast confidential settlement without admitting liability. It seems like the states would then be prohibited from using any evidence already used in negotiations.

          This whole thing about confidential settlements really gets to me. It’s like they want to pay us off and put us under a gag order for the rest of our lives or suffer losing what little they have settled for. How can that be legal? It’s extortion in reverse. I really hope the Sunshine in Litigation Act passes. Then no more confidential settlements.

    • Jane Akre says:

      Richard0- that’s why the public comment to the Federal Register is SOOO important. Big Tobacco didn’t like the AG investigations either and you recall the settlement that was forthcoming as a result…..

      • All Meshed Up says:

        Yes Jane, Big Tobacco got fined by the States who said the money would be used to help the victims of Big Tobacco. That was a lie. So if the States get a “Substantial Settlement” from J&J or whatever manufacturer, does anybody really believe that the States will then help the Victims of Big Mesh? I doubt it. And just as the consumers of tobacco die after awhile and you don’t have to hear about them anymore, mesh victims will themselves be blamed for their predicament and will die, also. I mean, who will believe us that the Doctor lied? Or that the FDA thwarted investigations concerning the dangers of PP, PE and other materials used in mesh products of every description? Or that the FDA ignored it’s own reporting data base, MAUDE? The Manufacturers will get fined but will continue to advertise and make Mesh products as if nothing has happened.
        So, when your States designated Official stands up in front of the photographers and microphones and announce how they have made J&J pay them ( enter your amount here), then say that they are going to help all of those victims of bad hips and mesh, will you believe? What I believe is that we will get shafted, again.
        But at least the State got “their” money back.

  10. msm says:

    I’m sorry, Jane. I posted this under the wrong email and didn’t notice it until it said “Awaiting moderation”.
    ————–
    I have a couple of things that have me confused.

    Won’t the states get their money back anyway if there is a settlement or judgment of any kind? They get their money back after the lawyers and before us. That’s what subrogation is for. Isn’t it?

    Why has the FDA let AMS off the hook from some of the studies:
    “AMS received a total of nineteen class-wide post-market study orders regarding its pelvic floor repair and mini-sling products; however, the FDA agreed to place sixteen of these study orders on hold for a variety of reasons.”
    Those reasons are not explained. Also notice that the FDA is only asking for studies of single incision mini-slings and not the most commonly used type of mid-urethral slings. I find that quite interesting.

    Lastly (for now):
    If AMS products are the “gold standard”, why do they continue to develop new models?

  11. Sandy says:

    Can I ask one question please, what is so different between J&J’s TVT meshes and the rest of the companies? I have heard the only way AMS got their meshes out the door was with the 510 process which we know is flawed. I know J&J makes the most but I was told AMS has the most claims by a former acquaintance. What bothers me is AMS keep getting their trial dates moved or gets people to settle. Which for me is not good. I am not going to settle for so little. I keep writing people but big money can buy a lot of people and cause them to look the other way. I think that is what is wrong with our world as a whole, big companies can buy anyone, which is these saddest statement that can be made about this while situation and our country as a nation.

  12. Therese Weber says:

    Would this litigation also include waving the statute of limitations? Many states have a 2-3 year limitation for filing. I was still too ill even after two years to consider legal ramifications. Now 7 years after the implant and several subsequent surgeries for removal. I looked in to my legal course only find that my “Statute of Limitations” had run out.

    Does anyone know of a way to reverse this? Attorney General in your home state? Can the federal government over ride the limit? This is a far reaching problem that cannot be resolved in 2 years. Our health considerations are more often then not still presenting new and more difficult medical problems. It has taken longer then 2 years for all the disastrous effects of mesh to be diagnosed. If anyone has any idea’s, please help me get an idea of what to do. Thanks for taking the time to read.

    • msm says:

      Check on the wording of the statute in your state. It may say 2 years after reasonable discovery. If you didn’t know all your problems came from defective mesh, then maybe just maybe …. Also, there may be some disability advocate that could help legally. I’ll check around.

      • Therese Weber says:

        Thank you MSM, I know you replied to my last post. Very happy to see you are still out there. I really need to get an answer. I don’t understand how the states could cap the time allowed for discovery. I far as I can see, it takes well over two years for the long term problems to show up or should I say never leave. This is crazy if J&J can by pass me because a statue of limitations. That is unbearable, criminal really.

        Again, thank you,
        Sincerely,
        Therese Weber

        • msm says:

          I was hoping I could find some pro bono legal source to help us. I feel like I need an attorney to advise me about my attorney! There are some legal help forums. I will find them again and give you the links. Sometimes they can either answer the question or at least point you in the right direction. Some are just in disguise and end up just trying to get you to file with their firm, but some are legit.

        • msm says:

          http://www.nolo.com
          some good resources
          ——————————–
          http://www.nationalconsumerlawyers.com/colorado/
          example of a longer statute of limitations if the defect is hidden.
          ———————————–
          http://www.charlestonproductliabilityblog.com/2014/01/defective-medical-device-claim-is-allowed-by-federal-judge.shtml

          This is from the Boston Scientific trial:

          “Where the treating doctor makes assurances to the patient regarding the defective medical device the patient may reasonably be kept from investigating further and discovering the defect. Thus the statute of limitations doesn’t begin to run while the doctor is reassuring the patient, according to the federal judge who is presiding over multi-district litigation in a West Virginia federal district court.”
          —————————————–Still looking for more.

    • All Meshed Up says:

      Hello Theresa. If you are asking about what this article is about, there is nothing in this that involves a patient or victim of mesh. This whole investigation is so the STATES will get monies back that they spent on surgeries for the poor. We as mesh victims are NOT included in any compensation that the States are looking for. We are just the window dressing. So, unfortunately like you and I, we cannot get a Lawyer to represent us because of the Statute of Limitations as many victims are finding. Very convenient for the manufacturers that tens of thousands lose their right to sue for damages done to them by a supposed “benign” medical device every day. It seems that we will be left behind and forgotten to suffer with the injuries, pain and dis figuration that comes with multiple surgeries after a mesh implant goes bad. I want to laugh every time I see another advertisement saying that I could get “Substantial Compensation” but it hurts too damn much…………Best Wishes.

  13. msm says:

    I had never heard that studies showed mesh erosion as far back as 2007 in Tension-free Vaginal Tape mid-urethral sling. This is the sling that FDA is choosing not to study further and has not issued any warning as it has with POP mesh.

    “This study did not detect a significant difference between TVT and colposuspension for the cure of stress incontinence at 5 years. The effect of both procedures on cure of incontinence and improvement in quality of life is maintained in the long term. Vault and posterior vaginal wall prolapse are seen more commonly after colposuspension. TAPE EROSION MAY OCCUR SEVERAL YEARS AFTER SURGERY.”

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17970791/

    I thought there were no studies longer than 18 months. Notice it doesn’t say it “rarely” occurs.

    I’m looking at more NIH studies I had never seen before.
    ———————–
    Here’s one study advocating that surgeons cut their own and use re-useable needles instead of using the pre-cut tape in kits in order to save $$$. So how much did AMS charge for kits and convince surgeons that they needed the kits rather than using this more cost-effective method when the results are comparable?

    “From a cost standpoint, there is a significant savings on materials by cutting one’s sling mesh and passing it with reusable Raz or Stamey needles. Raz describes a self-fashioned distal polypropylene sling passed in this manner with a cost of about $15 for the mesh, which they highlight is not as cost prohibitive as kits. Outcomes were good with objective and subjective cure rates of 92% and 89%, respectively. ”

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3193730/

    It’s long but shows results of numerous studies comparing different parameters with different approaches and slings.

    Another study supporting the cost-effective method. It also mentions using larger pore mesh (which is supposed to have a lower incidence of recurrent infection.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21716887/

    So a kit like SPARC, Monarc, etc. might be easy but at what over-inflated cost? It also makes me wonder whether surgeons are as meticulous and cautious using a one-size-fits-all kit (remember Rover’s 22-minute claim?) as are surgeons who actually have to take the time to think about what they are doing and what they are using for which patient their treating.

    ————————
    There are a ton of similar studies I just found this morning. If anyone wants more, I can post some later after a couple more cups of coffee. (They’re pretty boring but enlightening at the same time…)

  14. Sandy says:

    Thank you msm! Even though I have been involved with all of this for 3 years now I don’t know a lot about all the studies on meshes, guess I have just been to busy trying to get through my pain. It’s hard to lie down sometimes and read. My doctor never told me any thing on the dangers or complications of meshes. Had he I would have run. I didn’t even really realize what he was going to do to fix me. I come from a place where we trusted our doctors. Now I trust no one. I won’t ever go back to the doctor who took the mesh out either. All I can do is wait until August when I see the specialist. I am going to talk to him and see if he will also do an interview with Jane. I hope so. This guy is one of the top experts on the damages meshes can do to women. So like the rest of us all I can do is wait. But I am teaching my self all I can. From what I have read I believe with my whole heart that I have pudenal nerve damage. I can only pray this doctor can help me. Thanks again for all the research you do. I just pray AMS finally goes to court also on August so we can see what the jury has to say about them too.

  15. confused in ky says:

    im confused to why they dropped all the cook medical cases! ive had 3 implants and 3 removals of which cook incorp was one of the mesh devices, can anyone explain?

  16. notomesh says:

    Lana, when I was i the depths of my pain and no one to help me I reached out to you. You would not respond unless I sent money. I don’t understand how this is a partisan subject. Liberals vs. conservatives. We are women struggling through the pain and suffering of mesh. If we can’t come together now, then when?

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