Women: J&J trashed records in product injury suits

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TRENTON, N.J. — Lawyers and advocates for women alleging Johnson & Johnson products injured them urged the US Justice Department on Wednesday to investigate their contention the health care giant deliberately destroyed many documents critical to their lawsuits.

Corporate Action Network, a nonprofit group seeking to hold businesses accountable for their actions, said that it has written to Attorney General Eric Holder and asked the department to look into whether J&J, based in New Brunswick, N.J., and chief executive Alex Gorsky committed the crimes of obstructing justice and destroying records in a federal probe.

‘‘Hundreds of thousands of women continue to suffer ongoing, severe harm,’’ from J&J’s pelvic mesh implants, network spokeswoman Levana Layendecker said during a call with reporters. ‘‘I hope Johnson & Johnson is held accountable for their failure to warn.’’

The implants are widely used to hike up sagging pelvic organs, common in older women and those who’ve had children — and often the cause of embarrassing bladder leaks when they laugh, sneeze or lift something heavy. More than 22,000 women suing J&J blame its implants for crippling pain, infections, and bleeding.

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