Tens of thousands of vaginal mesh cases headed toward settlement?

Tens of thousands of vaginal mesh cases headed toward settlement?

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 Scientific.

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


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