FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Attorney General announced Tuesday that he's seeking thousands of dollars in damages for each patient in the state who got a vaginal mesh implant made by Johnson and Johnson and its medical device unit, accusing the companies of conducting a deceptive marketing campaign.
Attorney General Andy Beshear is accusing the company of concealing and mispresenting to doctors and patients many of the associated risks. The plastic mesh is used to treat pelvic organ prolapse, a condition involving the shifting of organs such as the bladder, bowel and uterus, often after childbirth, a hysterectomy or menopause.
The implants have prompted tens of thousands of lawsuits across the nation.
Beshear said in a statement that more than 15,000 women in Kentucky had transvaginal mesh implanted without being provided with sufficient information about complications that can lead to permanent disability.
The lawsuit seeks civil penalties of $2,000 per violation of the state's deceptive practices law, and $10,000 when targeted at consumers over age 60.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration this year re-labeled the products high risk instead of moderate and announced new federal scrutiny for them.
In an emailed response Tuesday, the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon Inc. called the lawsuits "unjustified."
"The evidence will show that Ethicon acted appropriately and responsibly in the marketing of our pelvic mesh products," the company said. "The use of implantable mesh is often the preferred option to treat certain female pelvic conditions, including pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence, and is backed by years of clinical research."