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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: September 24, 2014 01:24 PM
From: Representative Jesse White
To: All House members
Subject: Resolution Designating October 2014 as “Transvaginal Mesh Injury Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania

TO: All Members of the House of Representatives

FROM: Representative Jesse White

DATE: September 23, 2014

SUBJECT: Resolution Designating October 2014 as “Transvaginal Mesh Injury Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania

In the near future, I will introduce a resolution designating October 2014 as “Transvaginal Mesh Injury Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania.

Transvaginal meshes have been routinely used in procedures for women suffering from pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI) to permanently alleviate these conditions. Once believed to be a noninvasive and simple fix for women suffering from POP and SUI, there is mounting evidence that transvaginal meshes cause serious and potentially fatal complications.

Complications that arise from transvaginal mesh implants include erosion of the mesh into surrounding tissue; organ perforation; infection; recurrence of POP or SUI; and urinary problems. Debilitating pain and discomfort have resulted for women, who now face a substandard quality of life from possible permanent injuries. Several corrective surgeries are often needed to remove the mesh, but there is no guarantee that all pieces of mesh are removed or that there will be total recovery from complications.

In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted an expanded review of transvaginal meshes and identified serious safety concerns. Specifically, complications associated with the devices are now considered not rare and the use of transvaginal mesh does not lead to improved patient outcomes when compared to other traditional repair methods and may further expose patients to increased risk. The FDA has required manufacturers to conduct studies of patient safety and the effectiveness of mesh implants since 2012, but thousands of women continue to be impacted by complications arising from transvaginal mesh.

To date, approximately 50,000 lawsuits have been filed across the country by women who have been gravely injured by these mesh implants and have experienced a diminished quality of life. The lawsuits argue that manufacturers failed to warn doctors and patients of the risks associated with transvaginal meshes and that the meshes were defective and improperly designed. A few lawsuits have been settled over the past two years with plaintiffs being awarded millions of dollars in damages and manufacturers being held responsible for flawed products that caused irreversible injuries.

Please join me in recognizing October 2014 as “Transvaginal Mesh Injury Awareness Month” to bring awareness to this important public health issue that has caused serious injury to women across the United States and in the Commonwealth and to implore the medical community and the general public to support women suffering from complications associated with transvaginal mesh.

Introduced as HR1057