Vaginal-mesh implant lawsuits could be nearing settlement

Many women in the United States suffered serious injuries after receiving a surgical mesh implant that was supposed to repair pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence. Now the makers of the products are reportedly attempting to work out a settlement with thousands of women who filed suit.

According to reports, Boston Scientific Corp., C.R. Bard, Endo Health Solutions Inc., and two other companies that manufactured the surgical mesh products, also known as vaginal mesh or transvaginal mesh, are in talks with lawyers for the injured women and a settlement could be on the horizon.

At this point, more than 30,000 lawsuits have been filed against the makers of the insert devices, and it is possible that the number of claims could potentially increase to more than 50,000. The claims have been consolidated in federal court and a U.S. District judge is presiding over the litigation.

At a court hearing in mid-September, the judge acknowledged that settlement efforts were taking place “behind the scenes.” Interestingly, Johnson & Johnson, which also manufactured the products and faces lawsuits, isn’t particpating in the settlement talks, anonymous insiders said.

A law professor who teaches product liability said that settlement is likely because liability seems pretty clear in the case. He said that because of the number of claims and severity of the injuries, the settlement could involve several billion dollars.

In 2008 and 2011, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration issued warnings to doctors and patients about the vaginal mesh products after receiving thousands of complaints, including reports of injuries and death. Since then, many of the manufacturers have pulled the products off the market.

Source: NJ.com, “C.R. Bard negotiating to settle thousands of lawsuits involving vaginal-mesh implants,” Sept. 30, 2013