Sunday, May 10, 2015 - Medical device manufacturer Boston Scientific announced that it will make the first settlement in relation to the transvaginal mesh multidistrict litigation it‘s involved in for a total of $119 million. Of the more than 25,000 claims currently pending against Boston Scientific relating to their defective transvaginal mesh products, this settlement will bring to an end 2,970 of those cases.
The transvaginal mesh MDL is a massive series of lawsuits against a seven medical device manufacturers, including C.R. Bard Inc. and Johnson & Johnson claiming that the side effects of faulty support implants have led to serious injuries to women who have used the products. The mesh products, which were originally intended to help treat urinary incontinence in women, have caused infections, serious discomfort, bleeding and even the need for corrective surgery in some patients. Around 50,000 lawsuits total have been filed against manufacturers of transvaginal mesh to date, and the suits have been centralized in the Southern District of West Virginia Federal Court.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuits allege that Boston Scientific, along with other manufacturers of transvaginal mesh, introduced the products to the market without exposing the medical devices to the proper amount of tests to gauge its safety. Additional complaints associated with the device aside from those already mentioned include pain during sexual intercourse and pelvic organ prolapse. With the sheer number of lawsuits filed against the manufacturers of the mesh implants, more settlements are expected to follow the deal made by Boston Scientific as the first round of bellwether trials did not end favorably for the defense.
Boston Scientific worked towards the first settlement deal after finding itself on the losing end of the first pair of federal transvaginal mesh trials against the company. The two cases took place in West Virginia and Miami, with the awards given to the plaintiffs totaling $18.5 million and $26.7 million, respectively. The company fared better on the state level however, as it judges ruled in their favor in the first two cases heard in a Massachusetts state court.
In the wake of the $119 million settlement announcement, Boston Scientific released a reduced sales outlook for the year. The previous projected total, $7.38 billion, has now been slashed by $150 million down to $7.23 billion. Those numbers represented a 1.3 percent shares drop for the company the morning of the announcement.
The $119 million settlement announced includes a previous case ruled upon in Dallas in which the plaintiff was awarded a $35 million award. The outcome of that case is still in limbo as the ruling is subject to appeal. Boston Scientific‘s chief executive has announced that the company hopes to resolve the remaining lawsuits in the next 24 months.
The settlement agreement reached with Boston Scientific does not act as an admission of either liability or wrongdoing on the part of the defendant, and more than 20,000 cases remain pending against the device manufacturer. The full list of companies involved in the transvaginal mesh MDL are American Medical Systems, Boston Scientific, C.R. Bard, Coloplast, Cook Medical, Johnson & Johnson‘s Ethicon, and Neomedic.