Pelvic meshes have been around since the early 2000s and have been touted by several manufacturers as the solution to stress incontinence, hernia and pelvic organ prolapse (when the bladder, rectum and/or uterus moves from its original position). Women were advised to undergo these implant procedures and promised a life free of discomfort. But, as the years went by, it became clear that all was not right with these devices as more women - who had undergone treatment for prolapse - came forward with stories of debilitating pain and emotional agony. Turns out the devices, while a successful treatment for incontinence and hernia, weren't as effective in treating organ prolapse.
By 2012, women started taking mesh manufacturers to court claiming the mesh caused severe pain, bleeding, infection, organ perforation and autoimmune problems. By 2022, more than 100 000 cases have been brought against various manufacturers. Now, South Africa has added its name to the growing list as two legal firms are taking pharmaceutical giants Johnson & Johnson, Ethicon, Coloplast, and Nuangle to court.