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J & J To Acquire Troubled Implant Maker

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, December 01, 2008 9:52 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Medical Devices, OBTape, Mentor Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, FDA and Prescription Drugs

J & J will acquire Mentor, the company facing lawsuits for ObTape and breast implants.



IMAGE SOURCE:  Mentor Corp. Web site


Look for the world’s largest health-care company to get even bigger.

Johnson & Johnson plans to acquire the breast-implant maker, Mentor Corp. of Santa Barbara, California.   Holders of Mentor will get $31 a share, according to Bloomberg News, while J & J pays $1.07 billion in cash for the company.

Plan for J & J increasingly to move into the aesthetic and reconstructive medicine arena. The acquisition will be completed in the first quarter of 2009.  Mentor’s one year return was a -55.844 percent.

Mentor is the same company that faces multiple lawsuits over its “ObTape” medical product, a transobulator sling that is surgically implanted in women to relieve urinary incontinence. Lawyers for plaintiffs say that Mentor misled the Food and Drug Administration to win approval of the device.

According to a press release, studies have found that up to 20 percent of women had complications, typically caused when the tape protrudes into the vaginal wall including infections, pain, vaginal extrusions and urinary tract erosion.

An estimated 50,000 women have received ObTape which Mentor stopped marketing in March 2006.

Last October, Mentor filed a motion to stay about 22 ObTape vaginal sling lawsuits pending a decision on how to coordinate all of the cases.

And in 2005, Mentor was accused of hiding information about defective implants from the FDA, according to two former employees. They testified under oath that top executives ordered reports destroyed that detailed high rupture rates and poor quality of some types of implants. 

The revelations came from the deposition of the employees in the case brought by Kim Hoffman, who said her Mentor implants made her sick. The suit was eventually dismissed.

Another lawsuit was filed by a woman living in Illinois against Mentor Corp. after the breast implant allegedly ruptured, leaving her seriously disfigured.

Allergan is Mentor's key competitor in the breast implant market and Mentor has plans for a Botox like wrinkle treatment, PurTox. #

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