A San Francisco gynecologist with ties to Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit has stepped down from a federal safety panel that met last month to discuss power morcellator surgery, after it was disclosed that the company paid him more than $155,000 over three and a half years.

According to a recent report from NewBrunswickToday.com, disclosures on the big-pharma giant’s website indicate that Dr. Andrew Brill received consulting fee payments since 2010 through his company AIG Consulting. It was revealed last month that Brill removed himself from the 16-member expert Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel two days before a two-day meeting on the issue was scheduled to begin.

“During the course of the agency’s review and in consultation with Dr. Andrew Brill, it was determined that the financial information he disclosed was just above the threshold established for panel members to participate in one of our meetings,” a spokesperson for the agency said.

According to the August 23rd article, the FDA said Brill was “above the threshold” set forth by the Ethics in Government Act, which rules that “special government employees” receiving more than $50,000 from a company should not be allowed to participate in federal meetings like this one.

Gynecologist Present at 2011 FDA Panel Meeting on Transvaginal Mesh

The doctor in question, who specializes in minimally-invasive gynecologic surgery, did serve as a non-voting member of the FDA Medical Devices Advisory Committee/Obstetrics and Obstetrics & Gynecology Devices Panel meeting in September 2011, states the article on August 23rd. That review involved a pelvic mesh implant, which may be similar to one marketed by Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon. That product has now been named in thousands of transvaginal mesh lawsuits.

“We do not know what if anything Dr. Brill had taken by 2011 where he attended a September expert panel convened by the FDA on pelvic mesh. By 2014 it was enough to have him excluded from a morcellator panel,” the FDA said.

Three months earlier, the FDA issued a public health alert about power morcellators that warned doctors against using them until a full safety assessment had been conducted. Use of the surgical tool may result in the spread of uterine sarcoma and other cancers in women opting for laparoscopic hysterectomies and fibroid removal surgeries.

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Published August 25, 2014 by