Lamborghinis and ski trips to the Swiss Alps were among the incentives a pharmaceutical giant developed to market a surgical device that has ruined the lives of hundreds of Australian women.
- Documents show Johnson and Johnson tried to sell mesh product to surgeons as a simple and high-earning procedure
- The mesh devices have left at least 3,000 Australian women with serious side effects
- Patients seeking full removal concerned by lack of Australian surgeons willing to do it
Documents obtained by the ABC show the extent to which Johnson and Johnson oversold its surgical mesh products, which are used to treat incontinence and prolapse after childbirth.
They paint a picture of a company that tried to sell surgeons a jet-setting lifestyle where they could insert four devices “before lunch” and notch up $10,000 in surgeries in a single morning.
The mesh devices have left at least 3,000 Australian women with serious side effects including chronic pain, infections and inability to have sex, and are the subject of both a Senate inquiry and a class action.
New court documents released in the class action against Johnson and Johnson show that as early as 2009, concerns were raised inside the company that it was making “a huge mistake” by commercialising its latest brand of mesh, was “rushing to market”, and opening up the use of the product to “unqualified surgeons”.
The revelations have angered women such as Melbourne mother Shauna Cahill whose injuries from the mesh have left her in a wheelchair.
The 35-year-old has been in constant pain since having the product implanted just over a year ago.
“On a bad day my son will have to take me to the toilet,” she said. “I feel like I’ve failed my kids. I feel…