Study Exposes the Scandal of the Vaginal Meshe
An survey by ‘The BMJ’ reveals how manufacturers of vaginal mesh implants “aggressively pushed” their products for widespread use, how regulators approved them “with the weakest evidence” and how the medical profession did not establish records that could have detected problems much earlier.
In a series of published special reports, Gornall discusses the rapid increase of the mesh in the United Kingdom and tracks some of the doctors who warned about the consequences of the massive launch of a product with weak tests. It also tracks the failure of the surgical profession to register patients receiving mesh implants, despite warnings from the British National Institute for Health and Care of Excellence (NICE) and others go back to 2003
It was not until February 2018 that Jeremy Hunt, former secretary of health, announced that his department would be investing 1.1 million pounds “to develop a complete database on the vaginal mesh in order to improve clinical practice and identify problems” . If all [these warnings] had been taken into account, “the current mesh crisis could have been largely avoided,” according to Gornall.
EVIDENCE WRAPPED IN MULTIMILLIONARY AGREEMENTS
In a second report, Gornall goes in search of Ulf Ulmsten, the Swedish obstetrician who invented the mesh, and discovers how the original evidence was wrapped up in a multimillion dollar deal, industry-funded research and undisclosed conflicts of interest.
Gornall describes how, in March 1997, Ulmsten was paid $ 1 million by global medical giant Johnson and Johnson before a study to test the effectiveness and safety of his new tension-free vaginal tape procedure (TVT, for its acronym in English).
Although Johnson and Johnson deny accusations that the payment was conditional on the study being successful, and rejected any suggestion that this would have compromised the results of that trial, Gornall questions whether this was a “wallet-driven” investigation.
Finally, Gornall reports on NHS surgeons, professional bodies, universities and medical conferences that benefit from corporate funds and how this financial participation is hidden from patients. It describes how, despite the government’s directive on conflicts of interest, it remains difficult to dismantle funding from the clinical industry in the UK, and vaginal mesh specialists are no exception.
But not only individual doctors have financial ties to the industry, says Gornall, who cites links between some of the leading mesh devices companies and several colleges, such as the Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. . ‘ The ‘UK Pelvic Floor Society‘, whose members wear synthetic mesh for prolapse and incontinence surgery, is also supported by Shire, Cook Medical, Medtronic, THD and BK Medical, he adds.
Health News Desk