Lawsuits against manufacturers of transvaginal mesh devices are adversely affecting companies’ stock prices, according to Trefis: What’s Driving the Stock. The analyst points to the “continuous surge” of product liability lawsuits waged against companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Boston Scientific. ‘’While these litigation costs and settlements may have an immediate impact on the cash reserves, one should be concerned about its long-term impact on business, which could be hard to assess.”
Transvaginal mesh is a surgical mesh device used to treat pelvic floor disorders in women such as pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. The devices are inserted through the vagina to shore up organs that have dropped – or prolapsed – due to age, childbirth or obesity.
In August 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning based on a growing number of complaints it received from January 2008 through December 2010 in which transvaginal mesh was linked to deaths and serious injuries in women. The agency warned that transvaginal mesh should be classified as posing a high risk to patients.
Consumer groups petitioned the FDA to recall the devices, but instead the FDA ordered 31 different manufacturers of transvaginal mesh to study rates of organ damage and complications with the device.
“Buyers care about potential side effects when buying any healthcare product,” Trefis says. “As the brand value takes a hit, it hurts the company’s sales. It certainly doesn’t bode well for these companies, which are grappling with declining sales in their medical devices and diagnostics business. A strong outlook for the U.S. dollar amid the global economic slowdown and pricing pressure following the healthcare reforms continue to pose concerns for them in the short term.”