According to an indictment from a federal court in Brooklyn, United States prosecutors have accused a doctor and surgical consultant of defrauding women into having transvaginal mesh implants unnecessarily removed. The prosecution alleges the two recommended the procedures so they could receive funds from financial settlements involving transvaginal mesh litigation.
Transvaginal mesh litigation: A brief review
Manufactures touted transvaginal mesh as a product that would help women who suffer from pelvic organ prolapse. As explained in a publication by Reuters, the product was pulled from the market in the United States due to safety concerns. The product did not meet its intended purpose and led to additional injuries. As a result, it is the center of tens of thousands of lawsuits. Manufacturers including Johnson & Johnson settled a number of lawsuits.
Government alleges kickbacks and fraud: Two accused in NY case
The prosecution has stated the surgical consultant and physician exaggerated the potential health risk that came with leaving the mesh as it was and told the women to travel to specific physicians to have the device removed. The government then states the accused charged “exorbitant” rates and often paid for the procedures themselves so they could collect the money directly from the settlements.
The prosecution states the surgical consultant paid kickbacks to the physician in exchange for referrals. The physician, a urogynecologist, has maintained his innocence. He was arrested in Florida; the case is moving forward in New York.
If the prosecution builds a successful case, the physician could face criminal penalties as well as repercussions from the medical licensing board.