Health Secretary Alex Neil'smedical advisers held secrettalks with controversial multinational mesh implant firm
HEALTH secretary Alex Neil’s medical advisers held secret talks with a multinational firm making controversial mesh implants.
The Scottish Government’s deputy chief medical officer Dr Frances Elliot and public health consultant Dr Sarah Davies met Johnson & Johnson in July.
Weeks after the meeting, Neil told victims he feared being sued by manufacturers if he suspended mesh surgery.
A Sunday Mail campaign has revealed the agony of thousands of women who underwent mesh ops for stress incontinence and pelvic prolapse.
Labour’s shadow health secretary Neil Findlay said: “Directly after this secret meeting, Alex Neil publicly admitted there were serious flaws in reporting adverse side-effects, which was more than enough to take action. But he refused to suspend the use of mesh, telling victims he feared he’d be sued by manufacturers.
“I’ll be making it my business to find out what was discussed at that meeting and why the health secretary seems more scared about offending manufacturers than protecting the health of hundreds of women.”
The Scottish Government claimed 2915 women have had mesh surgery since 2007 but figures from individual health boards show more than 10,500 had the implants.
Mesh campaigner Elaine Holmes, from Newton Mearns, near Glasgow, said: “So many lives have been destroyed by mesh implants, the pressure on NHS resources is going to be enormous thanks to the same manufacturers that officials are having secret meetings with.”
Findlay said: “We’re potentially facing the biggest legal action in Scotland. If mesh manufacturers are found liable, we should be pursuing them to pick up the cost of trying to repair the damage done to so many women as well as picking up our legal costs.”
Victims’ lawyer Cameron Fyfe said: “We’ve lodged around 100 of the planned 400 court actions for damages in the Court of Session and NHS Scotland are named with manufacturers.”
The Scottish Government said: “Officials held an informal meeting with Johnson & Johnson and the Association of British Healthcare Industries.
“An update was provided on the requests made by the women affected by mesh complications.”
Lucinda Macari, of Johnson & Johnson, said: “At the meeting, we affirmed our commitment to working with UK regulatory authorities and professional societies to ensure the safety of our products.”