Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $2.6m

Steve Zemek

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has been ordered by the Federal Court to pay out almost $2.6 million in damages to three women who received faulty pelvic mesh implants.

Justice Anna Katzmann last year ruled that Johnson & Johnson and two subsidiaries had acted negligently over the defective vaginal implants that left hundreds in debilitating pain.

On Tuesday, they were ordered to pay damages as well as costs to the three lead applicants Ann Sanders, Kathryn Gill and Diane Dawson.

"We're pleased with the result and encouraged by the compensation for the three lead applicants ordered today," Shine Lawyers' Jan Saddler said.

"Today is a significant step forward but there is still a way to go until all Australian women affected by these products receive compensation."

The companies marketed the plastic implants as safe ways to reinforce the pelvic floor and address stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse.

But it left many women with chronic pain, acute pain during sex, damage to surrounding organs and other symptoms.

So far 1350 women have registered for the class action.

Final orders are expected to be made in the next several weeks.

In her decision last year, Justice Katzmann was scathing of companies for concealing the true extent of complications and taking to market the nine mesh products without rigorous clinical trials.

Some of the devices had no clinical trials while others had sponsored trials with small groups. No trials compared them to other treatments let alone did so in a randomised, controlled manner.

"For the most part, these reports could scarcely be described as evaluations at all, let alone critical analyses," Justice Katzmann said in her judgment last year.