Attorney General Morrisey reached $3.9M settlement with Johnson & Johnson over marketing of surgical mesh and hip replacement systems


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced on Monday that he has reached a $3.9 million settlement to resolve allegations that Johnson & Johnson and two of its specialty corporations engaged in unlawful, unfair and deceptive conduct in the marketing of surgical mesh devices and hip replacement systems.

A release from the Attorney General’s Office stated that the multifaceted settlement resolves allegations brought in a September 2019, surgical mesh lawsuit and avoids litigation of similar claims related to hip products.

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West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey

“The improper marketing of medical products can put the health of consumers at risk,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “This settlement demonstrates our office’s commitment to hold accountable corporations who ignore potential risks and side effects or omit such crucial details from the materials provided to doctors and patients.”

The release stated that West Virginia received significantly more funds by bringing the claims individually, rather than joining multi-state lawsuits.

Additionally, the release stated that Attorney General Morrisey negotiated a five percent cap on attorney fees for outside counsel as it relates to the surgical mesh lawsuit – itself a significantly lower percentage than set forth in his outside council policy. That policy, which is now state law, has saved West Virginia more than $11.9 million since its enactment, according to the release.

The Attorney General’s Office said the lawsuit claimed Johnson & Johnson, along with subsidiaries Ethicon Inc. and Ethicon US LLC, misrepresented the effectiveness, properties, risks and safety history of the surgical mesh products in marketing and educational materials provided to patients and doctors, in personal meetings and in published medical articles.

The release stated that the Attorney General alleged informational and marketing materials for the companies’ surgical mesh devices consistently omitted or concealed complications.

The Attorney General’s Office said that in a similar fashion, the settlement resolves allegations that Johnson & Johnson and Medical Device Services Inc., formerly known as Depuy Inc. and Depuy Orthopedics, deceptively and unlawfully marketed, promoted and sold the ASR XL, Acetabular, ASR Hip Resurfacing and Pinnacle Ultamet metal-on-metal hip replacement systems.

Johnson & Johnson, along with its specialty corporations, denied the state’s allegations, according to the release. The Attorney General’s Office said that all sides agreed to the settlement to avoid the delay, inconvenience and expense of litigation.

Surgical mesh is used in the treatment of conditions caused by weakened or damaged tissues and muscles in the pelvic floor area, leading to what is commonly called a pelvic floor collapse, the release explained. These conditions affect approximately one-third to one-half of women, according to the release.

A full copy of the settlement can be read here.

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