California and Washington led a nationwide investigation involving 46 states and the District of Columbia.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson in San Diego Superior Court on Tuesday.

She said the company put “put millions of women at risk of severe health problems” and “denied women the opportunity to make informed decisions about their health and well-being.”

A similar lawsuit was filed in Seattle by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who said at a news conference yesterday:

Sitting upright, lying on their side, walking all became incredibly painful. … These women were robbed of their ability to live and work in the way they once did.”

Most women say they were never warned about serious complications, which include erosion of the mesh through the vagina, organ damage, chronic pain, loss of sexual function, permanent urinary incontinence, and a devastating impact on overall quality of life.

Because it is implanted through the vagina, bacterial contamination and infections are common. The problem is that vaginal mesh is a permanent implant, so when complications occur, they are very hard to fix.

Vaginal mesh is a hammock-like medical implant that is designed to support weakened pelvic muscles. It treats pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence, two common health problems that affect hundreds of thousands of women.

In the past, these problems were treated with a non-surgical device called a pessary or surgically repairing the pelvic floor.

In the 1990s, manufacturers got FDA approval for the first vaginal mesh products based on just a few small safety studies in animals.

In 2011, the FDA warned that serious complications were “not rare.” Since then, approximately 100,000 women have filed lawsuits in state and federal court, including over 35,000 against Johnson & Johnson.

Source: CBS News

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