According to Mass Device, the FDA first issued a warning regarding the Johnson & Johnson laparoscopic power morcellators in April 2014. They convened a special advisory panel to evaluate the use of the device, and in November of that year ordered “black box” warnings for the labels.
Until recently a mainstay of gynecological surgery, the device uses a cutting tip to shred and remove uterine tissue. This warning, however, advised doctors to avoid its use in nearly all fibroid removal procedures.
Regulators found that use of the power morcellators could result in the spread of undetected cancers.
The power morcellators have been implicated in the spread of a lethal cancer which can seemingly appear to be benign fibroids, leading to recalls and a rash of cases against the healthcare titan.
Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon pulled the devices from the market in April 2014 and then issued a voluntary recall in July.
According to the plaintiff’s attorney Paul Pennock, at this time the company is looking to settle the estimated 100 cases which have been filed or readied for filing. In the past few months approximately 70 of those cases have been handled, with settlements ranging from $100,000 to $1,000,000.
The Wall Street Journal notes that a handful of cases are still pending in state courts and haven’t been taken care of.