How Addiction to Money Turned Medical Device Makers, the FDA, and Doctors into Street Dealers


How Addiction to Money Turned Medical Device Makers, the FDA, and Doctors into Street Dealers

Overview & Preview

The inside story of mesh and how women’s health was traded for quick cash.
This is a story about greed.

The story of vaginal mesh and genital mutilation is an important one. While it has all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster—billions of dollars, vulnerable women, Lamborghinis and ski trips, and scandalous emails—this is real life, and real women are left suffering in the wake of capitalism gone wild.

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We [sales reps] had, like, scripts designed to highlight the financial benefits of mesh implants. Like, "See that Lamborghini in the parking lot? That could be YOUR Lamborghini, doctor."

Former Sales Representative, Johnson & Johnson

Extirpation of vaginal mesh is akin to taking a hammer and chisel and trying to remove the rebar from a sidewalk while leaving the cement otherwise intact. It is difficult, if not impossible, to remove all the mesh and do it safely.

Dr. Tom Margolis

My personal experience [involves] trying to teach full time with a piece of plastic hanging out of an open wound in my vagina for the last three months. I can assure you that it was not just an inconvenience or a trivial or superficial incident.

Fiona, Vaginal Mesh Survivor

Show me the money!

Opening slide in Johnson & Johnson PowerPoint presentation to sales reps on winning domination of the mesh market

About the authors

Alicia Mundy

Alicia Mundy is an award-winning author, reporter, and columnist in Washington, D.C. She has covered health care and the pharmaceutical- and medical-device industry for twenty years. She focused on Congress and the lobbying of powerful corporations and interest groups representing health care companies, such as vaginal mesh makers. Her first book, Dispensing with the Truth, revealed company secrets about the fen-phen diet drug scandal and was a semifinalist for the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Award. She was a reporter in the DC bureau of the Wall Street Journal and later was chief investigator for Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee, looking at the high costs of medicine.

Jennifer Banmiller

Jennifer Banmiller has been involved in the consumer marketing and media business for thirty years. She is the founder of Wingtip Communications, Inc., as well as legal consumer advocacy sites such as Periscope Group. The author of “Salesmanship 101” for attorneys, she is a fervent advocate for consumers in the healthcare field.

Shout Outs For Crystal Mesh

Reviews From Amazon

A revolting expose and cautionary account of the deceptive marketing practices utilized by big pharma to promote plastic vaginal mesh implants that either misled doctors to believe these implants posed no real danger or encouraged them to ignore evidence of distressing failure rates, while thousands of patients in the US and throughout the globe consented to such surgeries. Greed replaced truth as big pharma scrambled, year after year, to contort and conceal the damage caused by plastic mesh implantation, leaving women permanently scarred, disabled, and destroyed in sexual function and image for life. A must-read for anyone who believes in the fidelity of big pharma in their marketing of their drugs and devices.

Julie T., R.N.

This book is truly extraordinary in that it paints a clear-eyed, and ultimately damning, picture of the medical technology / regulatory / patient ecosystem we have created in this country. It explores in graphic and well-researched detail the debacle of vaginal mesh implants in women – the suffering, the lack of accountability, the ingrained conflicts of interest, the deception and secrecy that has resulted in so much pain and hardship, and yet shockingly and devastatingly provided no real medical benefits at all to women everywhere who simply trusted their doctors and the system. But even more than that, as I read through this harrowing account, it became clear that it is also a siren call to all of us – women and men alike – that we must always be our own strongest health advocates in every way, for surely there is no longer any institutional safety net that we can rely upon. It kept me wide awake reading it, and wide awake thinking about the implications.

Mark S.

What an incredible and deeply disturbing indictment of medical device makers and Doctors whose greed blinded them to the very real problems of putting plastic mesh into women's vaginas with no accepted way to safely remove them. And the FDA simply stood by and gave the perpetrators free reign with little oversight. This expose reminds me of the explosive 1906 novel by American journalist and novelist Upton Sinclair. Titled "The Jungle", it portrayed the harsh conditions and exploited lives of immigrants in the United States. It particular, Sinclair exposed health violations and unsanitary practices in the American meat packing industry that let to reforms, including the Meat Inspection Act. We need Congress to investigate the medical device makers who created this tragedy, and make sure such medical malpractice never plagues women again.

Brian B.

An eye opener to the ugly truth of the medical money makers. This is a must buy - Outstanding resource but not a dry medical type book at all. In fact it reads like a chapter right out of Stephen King’s horror novels. The nightmare of collusion from industry to hospitals and doctors. With lawyers who prey upon the victims as vultures ready to make a quick buck in denying one’s constitutional rights to be represented. The denial of harm from polypropylene, a cheap plastic that is not compatible with humans. To the global market of genital mutilation of women


I did not think a book about a particular medical device (vaginal mesh) and the failings of bureaucrats, lawyers, and scientists to act responsibly would be a page turner. But it is. Because this story matters to so many women (and men) it's hard to stop reading. Nicely done.

John R.

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