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Arizona gets $2.8M in Johnson & Johnson medical device settlement

PHOENIX – Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay Arizona nearly $3 million as part of a multistate settlement over a subsidiary’s inaccurate claims about the effectiveness and safety of a medical device.

Ethicon, Inc. and its parent company has reached a $116.9 million settlement with 41 states and the District of Columbia over the marketing of transvaginal surgical mesh devices.

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office said in a press release Friday that the Grand Canyon State was due $2.8 million of the settlement.

Transvaginal surgical mesh can be used to treat women with the pelvic floor disorders of organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.

The states’ civil lawsuit said Ethicon didn’t adequately disclose the device’s potential side effects or the fact that it was nearly impossible to remove from patients.

The underplayed risks include chronic pain and inflammation, mesh erosion, incontinence, scarring and pain during sex, according to the release.

In addition to the cash penalties, Ethicon agreed to change its marketing and training for the device to make sure consumers and medical practitioners are aware of the side effects.

An Ethicon spokeswoman noted the settlement doesn’t include admission of any misconduct, and said the devices “are considered by many to be the gold standard for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence.”

About 25,000 U.S. women with complications from the devices have sued Johnson & Johnson, the company said. Those lawsuits aren’t affected by the settlement.

News of the settlement was first reported Thursday. A day later, Johnson & Johnson recalled a batch of its baby powder after government testing found trace amounts of asbestos in one bottle bought online.

The recalled lot of 33,000 22-ounce bottles distributed last year is #22318RB. Consumers who have a bottle from that lot should stop using it; refunds are available through the company’s website.

The recall came as the pharmaceutical giant fights thousands of lawsuits in which plaintiffs claim its iconic baby talcum powder was contaminated with asbestos and that it caused ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, a rare cancer linked to inhaling asbestos fibers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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