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J&J Subsidiary Ethicon Loses Class Action Suit In Australia

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Australia's Federal Court has ruled in favor of more than 1,000 women in a landmark class-action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson after they suffered severe pain and complications from the healthcare giant's pelvic mesh implants.

Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Ethicon were accused of hiding the risks of its pelvic mesh products.

Federal Court Judge Anna Katzmann said Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon misled patients and surgeons about the risks of the pelvic mesh implants and noted that both companies were negligent.

The judge found the pelvic mesh implants sold by Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon were "not fit for purpose" and of "unmerchantable quality." She also said some of the devices went to market without clinical trials.

The seven-year-old lawsuit was closely followed around the world. Johnson & Johnson faces similar lawsuits in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East.

There are 1,350 women who registered to take part in the class-action lawsuit, which is the largest women's health class-action in Australia's history.

The class action commenced in October 2012 and culminated in a trial that ran over seven months starting in July 2017, before today's ruling.

The women have alleged they suffered serious and permanent injuries after having Johnson & Johnson mesh or tape implants during surgery. The mesh products, often implanted after childbirth, were used to treat stress urinary incontinence or uterus prolapse.

The patients said the complications they suffered included chronic and debilitating pain, erosion of mesh into surrounding organs, infections, hemorrhage, incontinence and damage to surrounding tissues.

In response to the court ruling, Ethicon said it was reviewing the court's findings and believed the company had acted ethically and responsibly in the research, development and supply of the mesh products. The company said it will consider its options to appeal the ruling.

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