John Wilkinson is set to step down from his role as MHRA medical device chief in October, after vaginal mesh campaigners claimed the agency didn't take the scandal 'seriously'.
Last month, health watchdog NICE caused outrage when it ruled that vaginal mesh could be used by the NHS under certain circumstances. But pelvic mesh campaigners celebrated a major win later on in the month, when medical giant Johnson & Johnson was forced to pay almost $10 million to avoid going to trial over its role in the scandal.
And now it’s been announced that John Wilkinson, the director of devices at the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, will step down in October.
Wilkinson has spent seven years in the role, helping to shape European device regulations as well as procedures at MHRA.
But vaginal mesh campaigners say the agency didn’t do enough to support patients and survivors.
Vaginal mesh has been linked with a number of serious complications, which are often permanent. Reported side effects include chronic urinary tract infections, pain during sex and irreversible nerve damage. Some women even say that they have been left housebound as a result of the procedure.
‘The agency is not an effective watchdog,’ Scottish Mesh Survivors campaigner Elaine Holmes told the Scottish Parliament in 2014. ‘It does not take our concerns seriously. We have written to it a number of times and telephoned it, but we get standard copy and paste replies. The agency does not listen to us.’
Politicians have also pitched in to criticise MHRA’s handling of the pelvic mesh scandal. ‘When the public petitions committee took evidence from it, we learned that its “detailed analysis” amounted to three postgraduate students doing a desktop exercise for two weeks at a cost of £20,000,’ Jackson Carlaw revealed during a parliamentary debate in 2016.
In another debate, he suggested that the figure might actually be as high as £40,000.
Others agreed that this evidence showed that the agency’s device review process was ‘not fit for purpose’ and ‘completely inadequate’.
Best aromatherapy candles with powerful, aromatic scents to help you unwind
Made using essential oils, these are the best aromatherapy candles for a spa-like experience at home
By Annie Collyer •
Meghan Markle will celebrate her 40th with a low-key party—organized by Oprah's go-to party planner
Colin Cowie has organised big parties and events for A-list stars
By Sarah Finley •
The best weighted blanket sales and deals to shop right now
Our top picks of the best weighted blanket sales—from plush throws to cooling blankets
By Dominique McIntee •
The benefits of jumping rope you didn't know about—plus, five skipping routines to try
You could be missing out on all the health benefits of jumping rope
By Kate Carter •
Older people bust myths about sex after 50 in celebration of National Orgasm Day
Many people wrongly believe that sex after 50 is dangerous or even impossible
By Emma Dooney •
The best women’s walking shoes and boots—whether you need lightweight, breathable or waterproof styles
These best women’s walking shoes and hiking boots will allow you to go the distance
By Faye M Smith •
Why kegel exercises are so important—plus, the key movements you need to know about
Leading experts weigh in on the importance of kegel exercises and how to do them at home
By Emilie Lavinia •
The best running shoes for women—for casual jogs, long runs and beautiful trails
These best running shoes for women also look good, too. Win, win!
By Faye M Smith •
Calling all golf fans! Take part in our survey for a chance to win a £250 or $300 Amazon voucher!
Tell us what kind of golfer you are in our latest YOU & YOUR GOLF survey, for the chance of winning an Amazon voucher
By Rylee Johnston •
A third of all midlife people have one of these chronic health conditions
A new study has found that one in three middle-aged people in Britain suffer from at least one chronic health issue
By Emma Dooney •