Lawsuit highlights close ties between doctors and device manufacturers

Johnson and Johnson (JNJ) faces 20,000 product liability lawsuits relating to Ethicon's transvaginal mesh. The product was used to treat pelvic organ prolapse. It withdrew the product from the market in 2012 citing business reasons, but some recipients of the device complained of pain due to its shrinkage or erosion from its original placement.

Documents provided by J&J in the discovery process suggest that a company-paid physician consultant sought to change the language of the treatment guidelines published by a medical society in 2007.

The company also attempted to change the language of a research paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2011. The journal's editors are currently fighting a subpoena to testify in the case.

The firm engaged the MD as a consultant for 10 years paying him ~$800,000.

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