In this Dec. 20, 2018, photo, Dr. Jeffrey Clemons, a pelvic reconstructive surgeon, holds a sample of transvaginal mesh used to treat pelvic floor disorders and incontinence in women as he poses for a photo in Tacoma, Wash. Clemons helped draft a letter to state Attorney General Bob Ferguson that was signed by more than 60 Washington state surgeons, arguing that Ferguson's consumer-protection lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon Inc. subsidiary over the mesh products might scare patients away from the best treatment options. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Physicians criticize state lawsuits over pelvic mesh

January 10, 2019 - 8:33 am

SEATTLE (AP) — Doctors who specialize in female pelvic medicine say lawsuits by four states, including Washington and California, over products used to treat pelvic floor disorders and incontinence might scare patients away from the best treatment options.

Sixty-three Washington surgeons recently signed a letter to state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, arguing his consumer-protection lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson is off-base.

The lawsuit says the company failed to disclose risks associated with the transvaginal mesh products. But the doctors say they were never deceived and that the case is based on a misapprehension of how they assess risks posed by medical procedures.

The doctors say that while the mesh had higher-than-expected complication rates when used to treat some pelvic floor disorders, it remains the best surgical option for stress urinary incontinence, which is common among women after childbirth.

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