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Johnson & Johnson agrees to $117M settlement over pelvic mesh devices

Johnson & Johnson has agreed to a $117 million multistate settlement over allegations it deceptively marketed its pelvic mesh products, which support women's sagging pelvic organs.

Ohio's attorney general said Thursday an investigation found J&J, the world's biggest health products maker, violated state consumer protection laws by not fully disclosing the devices' risks. Numerous women have come forward claiming the hammock-like devices caused severe pain, bleeding and infections. 

The settlement, which covers 41 states and the District of Columbia, requires the company to fully disclose risks and stop making inaccurate safety claims. J&J said that the settlement doesn't include admission of any misconduct.

More than 2 million women implanted the medical devices commonly used to repair weak or damaged tissue and provide support in the event of a pelvic organ prolapse, or POP. But then patients across Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States filed tens of thousands of cases against Johnson & Jonson and other pelvic mesh device makers on the devices. By 2017, more than 700 women in Australia filed a class-action suit against Johnson & Johnson. 

That same year a record jury verdict of $57 million against Johnson & Johnson was awarded to a Pennsylvania woman who was injured by the product. "I'm in excruciating pain when I'm standing, it hurts when I'm sitting," Ella Ebaugh, 51, told CBS Philadelphia at the time. 

This year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in April also flagged the mesh products when Boston Scientific was ordered to stop selling and distributing the mesh products. The FDA said the company had not proven the efficacy or safety of the products. 

The settlement comes as J&J is swamped with thousands of other lawsuits claiming patients were harmed by products including baby powder, opioid painkillers and prescription drugs. The publicly traded consumer products and pharmaceutical giant has underperformed the S&P 500 stock index this year. 

An Oklahoma judge recently determined J&J should pay nearly $500 million to help address the state's opioid crisis. 

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