By Christina Morales, Editor-in-Chief
Periscope News Group
July 12, 2018
The National Health Service (NHS) in England – the equivalent to our FDA – has accepted a recommendation to temporarily suspend vaginal mesh implants for the treatment of stress-urinary incontinence (SUI) until March 2019 based on the evidence presented that the risk to patients far exceeds the benefits.
The battle over the safety of transvaginal mesh implants (TVM) has been a hot topic in the UK’s government for a while and this is a huge victory for those opposing the usage of TVM. In December, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) – an organization that monitors the NHS to promote public health and wellness- spoke out against mesh to Parliament and recommended that mesh should no longer be used to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP). Then in February, health secretary Jeremy Hunt conducted his own private review and determined that this type of surgery must be stopped until a safer method is available to patients. Julia Cumberlege, who was in charge of this report, stated: “I have been appalled at the seriousness and scale of the tragic stories we have heard from women and their families. We have heard from many women who are suffering terribly. Their bravery and dignity in speaking out is deeply moving, and their sadness, anger, pain and frustration at what has happened to them and others has been compelling. We had to act now.”
British Conservative Party politician and businesswoman Baroness Cumberlege has compiled a list of conditions that need to be met by March 2019 before TVM can be considered safe for use in patients. “My team and I are in no doubt that this pause is necessary,” said Cumberlege. “We must stop exposing women to the risk of life-changing and life-threatening injuries. We must have measures in place to mitigate the risk, and those are sadly lacking at the moment.”
TVM was never tested in a single vagina before it was inserted into millions of women putting their health and their lives at risk. TVM injuries include mesh migration, erosion, painful sexual intercourse, vaginal pain and bleeding, and other agonizing adverse effects. Currently TVM is banned in New Zealand and Australia and Scotland may be the next to suspend this dangerous medical device. However, it is legal and still being used in the United States.
“We now need to learn some serious lessons and not repeat the mistakes of the past. Including listening to patients when healthcare goes badly wrong and ensuring healthcare is based solely on high-quality research evidence,” explained Carl Heneghan, a professor of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University. Hopefully the U.S. government is watching and will follow these nations in their progressive actions to protect women.