Of all the dangerous and defective products that can harm consumers, implantable
medical devices are among the most problematic. The reasons for this are
fairly plain to see. After going through the pain and expense of surgically
implanting a given device, patients may then suffer much greater pain
and health complications if the device is found to be defective. Additional
surgeries are usually required to remove the
defective medical device - if it can be removed.
Perhaps the most distressing example in recent years is a device generically
referred to as transvaginal mesh, or simply vaginal mesh. Tens of thousands
of women in the United States have had vaginal mesh implanted to treat
problems like pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence, only to experience
chronic pain and health problems that can be debilitating. The women have
been filing and joining lawsuits against major manufacturers of the product,
including one consolidated lawsuit which Reuters has called "one
of the biggest U.S. mass torts in history."
The lawsuit mentioned above is a consolidation of more than 70,000 cases
brought against seven manufacturers of vaginal mesh. These include well-known
companies like Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon unit), C.R. Bard and Boston
Earlier this month, the judge overseeing these cases strongly urged both
sides to resolve the lawsuits quickly, presumably en masse. He noted that
unless agreements are reached, litigation could drag on for decades and
cost more than half a billion of dollars in fees alone.
Some of the defendant companies continue to stubbornly deny that their
products are defective, despite the tens of thousands of plaintiffs who
are pursuing damages. It is hard to see how these lawsuits can make significant
progress until or unless these companies become willing to admit wrongdoing
- at least to themselves - and offer fair settlements to the plaintiffs.
Source: Reuters, "
UPDATE 1-U.S. judge urges settlement in transvaginal mesh lawsuits," Jessica Dye, Feb. 5, 2015