SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian women have brought a class-action case against Johnson & Johnson over complications arising from vaginal mesh implants - a lawsuit that follows many others in the United States, Canada and Europe.
The claim, which is being heard in Australia's Federal Court, said patients had suffered chronic pain, bleeding and severe discomfort during sexual intercourse since having the mesh surgically implanted. The devices are used to treat stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.
The Australian action was brought on behalf of more than 700 claimants.
Johnson & Johnson said it was only aware of 200 "product events" after selling more than 100,000 pelvic floor repair products in Australia.
"It is always a concern to us when a patient doesn't get the outcome they had hoped for, or believes they have experienced an adverse event," spokeswoman Meshlin Khouri said in a statement.
"However it is important to remember that the majority of women who have undergone this surgery have had a positive result, and it has improved their quality of life."
Johnson & Johnson is one of several manufacturers that sold the devices. Those companies are facing tens of thousands of individual lawsuits from plaintiffs who said they were injured by the mesh's poor design and substandard materials.
In May, California accused Johnson & Johnson of failing to warn doctors and patients about the severity and frequency of complications associated with its pelvic mesh devices.
An Australian parliamentary committee is also holding an inquiry into the products and is expected to report its findings at the end of November.
Reporting by Ben Cooper; Editing by Jonathan Barrett and Edwina Gibbs