Urogynaecological surgical mesh implants - statement provided to the 7.30 Report (ABC) by the TGA

Behind the news

15 October 2012

This TGA behind-the-news article was published on 16 October 2012. Behind-the-news articles are published in response to issues that are of interest to the community at a point in time, for example, subjects that have been in the media.

  • Since 2006, the TGA has received 63 adverse event reports for all urogynaecological surgical meshes. The majority of reports are from the sponsors and manufacturers of these devices. There have been many thousands of these mesh devices implanted in the same time period.
  • At a recent meeting the TGA had with the Urogynaecological Society of Australia (UGSA) they reinforced their view that the issues were about the use of these meshes rather than the meshes themselves. The TGA has provided both the UGSA and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) with information on how to report adverse events.
  • A detailed review of urogynaecological meshes was undertaken by TGA in 2010.
  • The Clinical review found that the reported rate of complications was low. Further they found evidence that these rates do depend on the skill and training of the surgeon as well as patient factors. This outcome was endorsed by the then Medical Device Incident Review committee.
  • TGA consulted the RANZCOG and the UGSA as part of its monitoring of these surgical meshes. Both RANZCOG and UGSA are aware of the matters raised by the FDA. The TGA ensured that the colleges were aware of the situation and that they had communicated this information to their surgeons who are closest to the consumer.
  • In light of this RANZCOG and UGSA are advising that surgeons should have special training on performing these procedures and patient selection. Also that surgeons need to ensure patients understand the possibility of complications associated with this type of procedure. The UGSA has initiated a Pelvic Floor Surgical Database which started to collect data from operations prospectively in April 2012 which was modified from the UK equivalent to satisfy Australasian law.
  • In late May 2012 Johnson and Johnson notified all regulators that they will be ceasing supply globally over the next three to nine months of their surgical mesh products used in the treatment of pelvic floor prolapse and urinary incontinence.
  • The TGA has reviewed these devices since receiving the notification from Johnson and Johnson of the intent to remove their devices. Johnson and Johnson have confirmed that all of the above products were removed from supply in Australia on 15 August 2012, except for the Prosima which is being used by one surgeon in a surgeon driven clinical trial.
  • TGA also contacted Private Healthcare Australia and other private health funds regarding any adverse event data they are willing to share.
  • The FDA has also been contacted to determine if it has undertaken any regulatory or other action as a result of this notification. The FDA has indicated that it is not pursuing any regulatory action.
  • The TGA continues to monitor the rate of complications with surgical mesh along with other regulatory bodies and discussions with the colleges.
  • The urogynaecological meshes are either for Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) or Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) and are classified as either class IIb or class III devices. Those that are class III are biological meshes. The J&J meshes withdrawn from use are class IIb.
  • The ARTG entries for class IIb devices can cover several products. The Class III entries will cover only one product however.
  • There are currently 47 entries for Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) and Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) devices for 16 sponsors.
  • The TGA urges any patients with mesh implants who are concerned to contact their surgeon.
  • Note that mesh products are listed on the Prostheses List (PL) which means that private health insurers are required to pay a benefit on behalf of their member for the cost of the mesh. The mesh is purchased by the hospital from suppliers such as Johnson and Johnson. Currently there are 25 vaginal mesh products on the list. The relevant Clinical Advisory Group (UPCAG) are aware of the concerns around these products and any new sponsors seeking to list mesh products on the PL are being asked to provide published and peer reviewed clinical evidence with at least 12 months of follow up data to support their application.