Washington, California file suit against Johnson & Johnson over vaginal mesh implants

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The attorneys general of Washington state and California have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, claiming the healthcare giant misinterpreted the severe risks of vaginal mesh implants for years, according to CBS News.

The plastic mesh devices are used to treat pelvic organ prolapse, a condition that causes the bladder, bowel or uterus to shift, often after a hysterectomy, childbirth or menopause. Health complications linked to the devices include urinary dysfunction, loss of sexual function, constipation, pelvic pain and infection.

In response to health concerns over the problem prone devices, the FDA elevated the product's status from moderate to high risk and announced new federal scrutiny over them early this year.

California's lawsuit against the company cites false advertising and deceptive marketing, while Washington's lawsuit alleges tens of thousands of violations of the state's consumer protection law and seeks penalties that could reach millions of dollars.

Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon Inc., who marketed the mesh, calls the lawsuits unjustified and insists use of mesh implants are often the research-backed and preferred method of treating pelvic organ prolapse.

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