Iowa Women Request State Attorney General Investigate Dangers of Pelvic Mesh

Citing their personal health problems and costs incurred by state taxpayers, Iowa women who have been seriously injured by pelvic mesh implants requested that Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller investigate the pelvic mesh industry for its dangerous implants. 

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

Under the Iowa Medicaid program, the State, in financial partnership with the federal government, provides financial assistance for a broad range of health care services to eligible low income Iowa residents. A significant portion of the monies that the State has paid out, and will continue to pay out, to recipients under the Iowa Medicaid program is for health care costs attributable to pelvic mesh-related injuries.

“Across Iowa, women are being hurt by pelvic mesh products.  Leading companies in the industry, including Johnson & Johnson and its top executive Alex Gorsky, need to be held accountable for the women they have hurt,” added Akre. “Pelvic mesh implants are perhaps the most dangerous product to women’s health on the market today. Gorsky should immediately pull pelvic mesh off the market, and his delay in doing so is a slap in the face to women across Iowa.” 

More than 70,000 separate lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers of pelvic mesh implants. Local survivors in Iowa signed on to today’s request for an investigation.

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

According to the letter, mesh industry leader Johnson & Johnson may be in violation of Section 714.16 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.

Indicating that Johnson & Johnson knew how harmful pelvic mesh implants were, the corporation destroyed thousands of documents regarding the safety and efficacy of the implants.  Although top company executives initially denied it, a magistrate judge found that Ethicon, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson that manufactured the implants, destroyed documents pertaining to their effectiveness and safety as far back as 2007. Alex Gorsky, the current Chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, was named head of Ethicon in 2008, before most of the documents were destroyed, and has continued to oversee it in his climb through the company’s ranks.