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Shezad Malik MD JD
Shezad Malik MD JD
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Boston Scientific Hammered Again Over Vaginal Mesh Lawsuits

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They say when it rains it pours and there must be a rain storm up there in Massachusetts at the corporate headquarters of Boston Scientific. The hits keep on coming, in the second federal trial involving Boston Scientific Corp., the vaginal mesh manufacturer must pay $18.5 million to women who blamed the company’s urinary incontinence implants for their personal injuries.

Trans Vaginal Mesh AttorneyFederal court jurors in Charleston, West Virginia, awarded a total of $18.5 million in damages to four women who blamed the company’s vaginal inserts for leaving them in constant pain, including $4 million in punitive damages. Jurors found that Boston Scientific officials defectively designed their Obtryx urinary incontinence implants and failed to properly warn doctors and their patients about the device’s risks.

Combined Trial Four Awards

This jury finding follows closely on the heels of a November 13 verdict in Florida where jurors found Boston Scientific liable and ordered the company to pay $26.7 million to four women who blamed the Pinnacle pelvic mesh products for injuring them. The women alleged that the mesh inserts eroded inside their bodies, causing organ damage and pain.
Allegations: Boston Scientific Did Not Test Vaginal Mesh Products

The women’s lawyers argued that Boston Scientific officials ignored calls for more testing of the pelvic-organ implant and rushed the production of the devices to market without adequate testing.

Thousands of Women Affected with Pelvic Organ Damage

Doctors inserted more than 70,000 mesh devices in the U.S. in 2010, threading them through incisions in the vagina to strengthen pelvic muscles that failed to support internal organs or to treat urinary incontinence.

Over thirty thousand women nationwide are pursuing Boston Scientific mesh lawsuits after experiencing painful and debilitating complications associated with the use of bladder sling and transvaginal mesh products for repair of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or female stress urinary incontinence (SUI), including erosion of the mesh through the vagina, infections and other problems.

Boston Scientific Trial Verdicts

In September, a state court jury in Texas ordered Boston Scientific to pay $73 million in damages to a woman who blamed one of its incontinence implants for her constant pain. That verdict was cut to $34.6 million by the trial judge. The company has won other cases that have gone to trial in state court in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts-based company, is exposed to more than 14,000 suits over its vaginal implants in U.S. federal courts, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Boston Scientific pulled Pinnacle from the U.S. market in 2011.

Many of the cases against Boston Scientific have been consolidated before U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin in Charleston, West Virginia. Others have been filed in state courts in Delaware, New Jersey, Missouri, Texas and California.

Mesh Materials Not Approved

Women allege that the mesh inserts are made of substandard plastic materials  that erode once they are implanted, causing pain and organ damage, and making sex uncomfortable or impossible. According to evidence presented in the trial, the mesh used in the Obtryx insert hadn’t been approved for use within the human body by the company that made it.

Vaginal Mesh and Bladder Sling MDL Update

U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin is overseeing coordinated discovery and a series of bellwether trials involving seven different manufacturers, which have all be centralized in the Southern District of West Virginia as part of multidistrict litigation.

There are about 70,000 mesh/sling lawsuits in the MDL, as of the latest figures provided by the JPML on October 15, 2014, with 14,250 Boston Scientific, 10,117 Bard Avaulta, 22,077 Ethicon, 19,170 American Medical Systems (AMS), 1,813 Coloplast, 293 Cook Medical and 84 Neomedic mesh lawsuits.

In light of these plaintiff wins, there will be tremendous pressure on the company to try and settle these transvaginal mesh and urinary incontinence device injury cases.

The consolidated West Virginia case is Jacquelyn Tyree v. Boston Scientific Corp., No. 12-cv-8633, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia (Charleston).

The Florida case is Eghnayem v. Boston Scientific Corp., 14-cv-24061, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (Miami).