Johnson & Johnson plans to stop selling surgical mesh implants used to treat pelvic organ prolapse, as the products have been linked to injuries and triggered hundreds of lawsuits.
The company sent a letter to judges in New Jersey and West Virginia who are overseeing patient lawsuits against the company. J&J said it plans to phase out four mesh products over the next three to nine months.
The plastic mesh is used to strengthen the pelvic wall in cases of pelvic organ prolapse, in which the bladder or other reproductive organs slip down into the vagina. About 75,000 women had prolapse surgery with mesh inserted through the vagina last year. A similar procedure using an incision in the abdomen is less common.
J&J said the mesh products are safe and that it is not recalling them. "Our decision to discontinue these products is based on their commercial viability in light of changing market dynamics, and is not related to safety or efficacy," the New Brunswick, N.J., company said in a statement.
But the Food and Drug Administration reported last year that the implants were associated with higher rates of pain, bleeding and infection than traditional surgery with stitches. At the same time, the FDA said it saw no evidence that using mesh led to better outcomes than traditional surgery with stitches.
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