Johnson & Johnson has reportedly agreed to settle a federal probe by the US Department of Justice for $2.2 billion, nearly the same amount as Pfizer paid in 2009 for similar false marketing allegations. Both drug makers have been subject to federal investigations concerning allegedly false marketing of drugs. In the case of Johnson & Johnson, the probe targeted Risperdal, the company’s antipsychotic drug. The deal would end an 8-year investigation into the company’s marketing practices.
According to a report in the Business Journal, “It would include a criminal penalty of as much as $600 million, as well as a misdemeanor plea, according to a Bloomberg report quoting unnamed sources. The deal would also resolve civil claims against J&J, alleging kickbacks to Omnicare Inc. (NYSE: OCR), a health care services company that dispenses drugs in nursing homes.”
Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson and manufacturer of transvaginal meshes, has announced the voluntary recall of all their transvaginal mesh medical devices. The recall comes in the wake of hundreds of transvaginal mesh lawsuits filed due to mesh failures and the need for revision surgery to correct the medical problems caused by the transvaginal mesh products. In recalling the vaginal mesh, Ethicon sent a letter to Judges Joseph R. Goodwin and Mary E. Stanley, both of whom are presiding over the multidistrict litigation consolidated in West Virginia. The letter described the recall as a halt in the “commercialization” of the vaginal mesh. In the letter, the company informed the Justices that they had already told the FDA of their decision to halt “commercialization” and requested from the government agency a 120 day timeline in which to complete the recall.
Ethicon is not the only transvaginal mesh medical device company to have experienced problems with the transvaginal mesh. While all the mesh products are similar in design and purpose, other companies selling transvaginal meshes have also been embroiled in mesh lawsuits. Those companies include American Medical Systems, Inc. and C.R. Bard, Inc. Both of those companies are involved in multidistrict litigation concerning transvaginal mesh lawsuits in separate judicial venues.
As a member of these MDL (multidistrict litigation)steering committees, I know that many women have been seriously injured by faulty transvaginal mesh products. The decision by Ethicon is a welcome sign so that more women will not undergo the pain and suffering caused by these defective medical devices.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, wasn’t silent for long. As news spread concerning his decision to pay priests accused of the sexual abuse of minors to leave the priesthood, Dolan was uncharacteristically silent, at least for a few days. When he spoke this past Sunday after services, he was full of fire and brimstone. Unfortunately, the recipients of his attack, were the same old messengers-the NY Times and the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. He even went so far as to say,”SNAP has no credibility whatsoever.” Of course, that’s what public figures seem to do when the facts don’t support their version of reality. It may remind some of Richard Nixon’s infamous line to the press after losing the the California gubernatorial election in 1962 when he said in total self-pity “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore.”
The reality is such a tactic didn’t work for Nixon in 1962 and most likely won’t work for Dolan in 2012. The public doesn’t like self-centered self-pity, especially when they’re dead wrong. Dolan could have said he made a grave mistake. He could have said such funds should have gone to the survivors of the abuse. But sadly, he chose the Nixonian road. Who knows maybe Dolan looked at history (he does have an advanced degree in the field) and said to himself, “Nixon was elected six years later, what the hell.” Who know what he was thinking. What we do know is that Dolan was caught doing something that further injures the survivors of sexual abuse. The NY Times and SNAP were reporting facts, nothing more than what they should be doing.