Daily News: Disease

Iowa women ask attorney general to investigate surgical mesh

Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA)

07-09-14

July 09--A handful of Iowa women have asked the state's attorney general to investigate the pelvic mesh industry after they experienced health complications from surgical mesh surgeries.

"We call for Attorney General Tom Miller to investigate the pelvic mesh industry for selling dangerous products to women throughout Iowa," said Jane Akre, who has been organizing survivors of pelvic mesh implants for more than five years, in a news release. "The damage this product has caused already has cost taxpayers too much money through Medicaid and other state public health systems,"

Surgical mesh, which is generally used to repair weakened or damaged tissue, is made from synthetic material. It is permanently implanted to reinforce a weakened vaginal wall to repair pelvic organ prolapse or to support the urethra to treat urinary incontinence, which can commonly occur in older women, women who have had children and women who are obese.

However, more than 1,000 adverse events were reported to the U.S. Federal Drug Administration between 2005 and 2007, which caused the agency to issue a Public Health Notification in 2008. Since then, the FDA received 2,874 additional reports of complications associated with surgical mesh devices used to repair pelvic organ prolapse.

The most common complications reported to the FDA include mesh erosion through the vagina, pain, infection, bleeding, organ perforation and urinary problems.

Thousands of women across the country have sought legal action through multiple class-action lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, C.R. Bard, Endo Health Solutions Inc. and Boston Scientific Corp.

The women said in the letter that they believe Johnson & Johnson may be in violation of part of the Iowa Consumer Fraud Act for knowledge of the inherent danger of the mesh implants as well as the destruction of documents about the products' safety.

"There are so many of us out there everyday fighting to get some normalcy back in our lives from the mesh," said Cindy Walraven of Knoxville. "To have just one day where we could be pain free from the effects would be a true blessing."

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