The American Association for Justice (AAJ), a leading legal organization that focuses on enhancing the practice of law and advocating the civil justice system, recently published a report called From Accutane to Zonite: A History of Dangerous Drugs & Devices Marketed to Women which brought to light many of the medical products that have negatively affected women over the past century. The article brings attention to heavily marketed female products such as talcum powder and vaginal mesh.
AAJ argues that corporations have a history of exploiting women in order to gain profit for their unsafe medical products. Some companies allegedly knew about the medical devices being harmful to women, however, they did not mention it to the public. Women were left suffering from dangerous drugs and devices until many lawsuits, over decades, brought justice to the major issue. The government has acted to curtail all medical products being marketed to women by implementing stricter FDA regulations before any medical product can enter the market.
Johnson & Johnson’s Talcum powder, one example, was widely used by women in the early 1900s. Heavily marketed slogans like, “Best for baby, best for you,” encouraged the talc-based powder to become part of most women’s daily routines. The powder was not approved by the FDA because it was considered a cosmetic in the 1938 Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
AAJ stated, “The company knew for decades that its talc-based powders could increase the risk of ovarian cancer, but failed to warn consumers.” J&J was knowingly exploiting women to continue making a large profit on the product. Until the United States National Toxicology Program determined the product to be a carcinogen in 1993, J&J covered up all reports stating the product was harmful and continued to market it. After more than a thousand lawsuits alleging talcum powder increases the risk of ovarian cancer, women are finally being compensated for the risks and suffering they needlessly endured.
Another example is vaginal mesh. Vaginal mesh was designed to treat Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) and Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI), but the mesh was never fully studied by the FDA prior to its introduction to the market. Johnson & Johnson introduced a vaginal mesh implant, without approval from the FDA, and later was ordered by the FDA to immediately halt sales.
However, J&J continued selling the implant and eventually received approval from the FDA. J&J struck again with the inability to warn consumers of the adverse effects of the implant. Over 4,000 lawsuits later, J&J finally stopped selling the implant, but other companies are still selling mesh implants the FDA has deemed high-risk.
The civil justice system has proved to help strengthen safety standards and regulations, but women are still suffering due to effects and complications from dangerous drugs and devices they thought were helping them. Today, women are standing up and fighting to publicly expose companies.
To read the full article, you can find it here.