- A U.S. judge has dismissed more than 200 hernia mesh liability cases after Johnson & Johnson reached a settlement with the plaintiffs. J&J and the claimants in the Physiomesh lawsuit being heard in Georgia jointly filed to dismiss the cases at the end of last month.
- In May, J&J reached a settlement with 292 Physiomesh claimants who were excluded from an earlier deal, according to its third quarter filing, moving a step closer toward resolving a legal situation that has dogged the company since it pulled Physiomesh from the market in 2016.
- A J&J Ethicon spokesperson, in a statement emailed to MedTech Dive, said that the company acted appropriately and responsibly in the research, development and marketing of its hernia mesh products, and that settling the lawsuit was not an admission of liability or wrongdoing.
J&J’s Ethicon withdrew Physiomesh globally in June 2016. The Ethicon spokesperson said the hernia mesh products have been used to care for millions of patients worldwide for more than 50 years.
“This settlement is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing and was agreed to in the best interests of all parties to avoid a prolonged legal process and allow us to continue to focus on helping patients, including those requiring hernia treatment, to live their best lives,” the spokesperson wrote in the email.
Ethicon withdrew the products after an analysis of two independent hernia registries linked laparoscopic ventral hernia repair using Physiomesh to a higher average rate of recurrence and reoperation than a set of comparator meshes.
Claims for personal injury soon followed. Over time, the legal system organized the U.S. cases into two groups, one in the New Jersey courts and another in the Georgia courts. In September 2021, Ethicon entered into an agreement to resolve more than 3,700 cases across the two groups. As of J&J’s latest update in its quarterly results, most of the cases covered by the agreement had been dismissed.
In May, Ethicon entered into an additional settlement with 292 claimants and began receiving releases. As of the start of October, around 720 plaintiffs had pending lawsuits regarding injuries allegedly linked to Physiomesh, according to J&J’s quarterly filing, down from 2,100 at the start of the year.
Five cases excluded from either settlement remained subject to docket control orders, according to the quarterly filing. At the start of the year, the company had 208 cases subject to docket control orders requiring early expert reports and discovery requirements. The progress means J&J has now dealt with the vast majority of the cases brought against it in relation to Physiomesh.