Ethicon Company History Timeline


The Edinburgh facility was opened in 1915 to manufacture and sell catgut, silk and nylon sutures.


Johnson & Johnson bought G.F. Merson Limited in 1947.


Ethicon, Inc. is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, incorporated in 1949 according to Wikipedia, to expand the product line.

Under Johnson & Johnson’s control, G.F. Merson Limited became Ethicon Suture Laboratories in 1949.


Merson stayed involved in the company until his death in 1958.


By 1969 PROLENE® Propylene Suture became the “gold standard” for cardiac bypass surgery and eventually would become the material eventually used to make hernia mesh then transvaginal mesh.


In 1970 Ethicon LTD., of Edinburgh, Scotland, produced this book called Ethicon infirmary about the origin of the name "catgut", another name for suture material.


Coated VICRYL® was introduced in 1974 for use in general surgery.


By 1992, Ethicon was restructured and Ethicon Endo-Surgery became a separate company.


In 2008, the company sold its wound management business to One Equity Partners.


2009 Mentor – breast implant maker


Covering mesh issues from a patient’s perspective since 2011.


But, in 2012, the company stopped selling four of its Gynecare mesh products.


By May 2013, the companies consolidated again and rebranded to form Ethicon Endo-Surgery to merge its surgical sutures and wound closure devices with medical devices and surgical instruments specializing in minimally-invasive surgery.


January 2016 Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $120 million to settle thousands of mesh lawsuits.

February 2016 A jury awarded $4.4 million to a Florida resident injured by Mentor’s ObTape sling for urinary incontinence.

Ethicon pulled its popular Physiomesh Flexible Composite Hernia Mesh from the market worldwide in 2016.


Mesh Medical Device News Desk, January 17, 2017 ~ Long before there was transvaginal mesh made by Johnson & Johnson, the company made suture material, known as "catgut" because it was manufactured from the submucosal layer of the small intestines of a sheep.

January 24, 2017 at 8:30 am EST J&J will discuss its 4Q earnings in a call and Webcast.

April 2017 A Philadelphia jury awarded $20 million to a patient who received Ethicon’s TVT-Secur and suffered transvaginal mesh complications.

September 2017 A Philadelphia jury awarded $57.1 million to a patient injured by two of Ethicon’s pelvic mesh implants.


March 2018 An Indiana jury awarded $35 million to a patient injured by Ethicon’s Prolift mesh implant.


April 2019 A Philadelphia jury awarded $120 million to a woman who received Ethicon’s TVT-O mesh implant.

May 2019 A Pennsylvania jury awarded $80 million to a woman who had a Prolift mesh implant.

Perriello, B. (2019, May 9). J&J’s Ethicon buys Takeda’s TachoSil fibrin patch for $400m.

Ethicon agreed to pay $117 million to 41 states and the District of Columbia to settle claims for deceptive marketing of its pelvic mesh products in October 2019.

Hale, C. (2019, October 18). J&J, Ethicon to pay $117M to settle states' transvaginal mesh marketing lawsuits.

2019 TachoSil — Fibrin patch business from Takeda Pharmaceutical


Johnson & Johnson’s surgery franchise made $8.2 billion in sales in 2020, according to Johnson and Johnson’s 2020 annual report.

Cases continue to be filed, but they remain outside the MDL. Ethicon still faces 14,900 pelvic mesh lawsuits, according to the 2020 annual report.


As of March 15, 2021, Ethicon faced 3,365 Physiomesh lawsuits in multidistrict litigation in Georgia.

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Cincinnati, OH
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George Merson
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