Saturday, August 29, 2015 - Nearly two dozen lawsuits filed against the pharmaceutical company C.R. Bard, Inc. concerning complications that took place with their IVC filters were consolidated into multidistrict litigation in Arizona following a July Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) hearing. The lawsuits against the medical device manufactured by C.R. Bard are similar to claims filed against Cook Medical, another company that creates the blood clot devices. The consolidation of the Bard lawsuits follows in step with the Cook litigation, which was consolidated into an MDL in October of 2014.
The plaintiffs behind the 22 lawsuits that were transferred to the District of Arizona federal court claim that the IVC (inferior vena cava) filters manufactured by Bard were defective and caused serious health complications for many patients who had the devices surgically implanted. The devices are intended to help filter and trap blood clots in a patient‘s body before the risk of serious injury can take place as a result of the clots. Though this function of the device was allegedly effective, the device itself posed many problems in its design and implementation.
The inferior vena cava is a large vein that carries deoxygenated blood from the lower half of the human body to the heart. For people that are susceptible to blood clots, the ability to filter them out of the blood stream and away from the heart is a valuable option. IVC filters were developed to address this issue, and were marketed as an effective method to fight against the risk of pulmonary embolism.
Plaintiffs however have claimed that after implantation, the IVC filters manufactured by Bard were susceptible to fracturing, migrating beyond its intended area of use and creating clots of its own because of flaws in the device‘s design. These problems led to serious internal injuries for many of the plaintiffs, and have also led to federal intervention concerning the filters.
In light of the complications that were reported by those affected by the IVC filters, the FDA issued a notice to doctors that it would be advisable to remove the filters roughly a month or two after the threat for clotting complications had passed. The original IVC filters were permanent devices that would stay in patients after their implantation. The newer ones however, which are the focus of the litigation, have the ability to be removed from the patient after they are initially surgically implanted. That functional convenience has come at the expense of safety according to the allegations however, as the newer devices has caused serious complications for plaintiffs that filed claims against Bard.
The MDL will cover allegations concerning Bard‘s G2 and Recovery IVC filters, and will take place in Arizona where the pharmaceutical company is headquartered. The plaintiffs filed the motion to consolidate the lawsuits, and the defense argued against the proposed centralization of the lawsuits before the JPML at the July hearing. Though the initial motion to transfer contained only 22 lawsuits, there could be hundreds more added to the MDL in the coming months as the considerable use of Bard IVC filters could lead to a surge in claims after news of the consolidation spreads around the country.