At present, the vaginal mesh implant scandal has been compared to the thalidomide scandal which plagued women of the 1960s and their infants.
The synthetic polypropylene implants were used as an alternative to more invasive procedures for the treatment of urinary incontinence and prolapse that occurs after childbirth. Many patients began to complain about chronic pain, bladder spasms and continual pelvic pain due to the mesh cutting through vaginal tissue as well as an inability to walk after sex.
The mesh implant launched by Johnson & Johnson without a clinical trial has led to law suits on all fronts and an estimated $57 million dollars was given to one woman alone as compensation.
It was revealed earlier this year that over 800 women will be taking legal action against the NHS for its part in the scandal. Thousands of woman had been advised to have tension-free vaginal tape surgery across the United Kingdom. Over 92,000 women have had these implants from 2007-2015. Despite having the implants being removed, many women will have to deal with permanent side effects both psychological and physical. A campaign known as Sling the Mesh has been launched.
Professor Carl Heneghan from the University of Oxford compared the scandal to the thalidomide scandal as the thalidomide scandal resulted in an immediate change in drug regulation and this scandal will do the same with the regulation of devices and implants.
Many have criticised the medical proffession and doctors of all ranking after the scandal. There was a desperate need to have stricter regulations and a better approach to the complaints made by women post-operatively as this could have resulted in many of them not having to deal with permanant side effects. This scandal has been incredibly eye opening and will hopefully result in stricter regulations worldwide when dealing with implantation of devices.