One of the country’s largest manufacturers of vaginal mesh implants agreed to a $54.3 million settlement with a handful of female patients who suffered injury because of its defective medical devices.
As Bloomberg reports, the multi-million dollar case – settled in June 2013 against Endo American Medical Systems – does not affect the 5,000 or so remaining vaginal mesh lawsuits pending against Endo’s subsidiary. The news organization reports that at least 29,000 similar injury lawsuits have been filed against four major drug companies that manufacture the controversial medical device.
The Recent $54.3 Million Settlement at a Glance
The recently settled Endo lawsuits – the company declined to specify how many cases were involved – were filed in connection with accusations that the manufacturer’s vaginal mesh devices eroded once implanted. The defect caused pain and urinary incontinence for the female patients involved in the lawsuits. Some of the medical devices included in this settlement are the Apogee, Elevate, and Perigee implants.
According to Bloomberg, this settlement will resolve a small group of lawsuits filed both in state and federal courts. There are, however, many more lawsuits awaiting trial. By the company’s own admission, that number rose from 2,900 cases in 2012 to roughly 5,100.
What is a vaginal mesh device and when it is used?
Vaginal mesh devices (or implants) are used in reparative surgery performed on women who have suffered pelvic prolapse. During the procedure, a surgeon will install a vaginal mesh device – typically made of a synthetic material – to act as a “sling” or “cradle” to support a woman’s internal organs.
A vaginal mesh device may be deemed necessary when pelvic floor muscles have weakened and struggle to hold the urethra, uterus, bowel or bladder in place. Women who have undergone childbirth or a hysterectomy may be especially at risk. It also may be seen in menopausal women. The procedure is intended to eliminate physical maladies such as urinary incontinence.
The Link Between Vaginal Mesh Implants and Injury
Unfortunately, as thousands of cases have shown, the vaginal mesh devices are a common contributing factor in additional pain and injury for many patients. Some of the most commonly reported complications associated with the devices include:
- discomfort and pain;
- painful sexual intercourse;
- perforation of the bowel; and
- vaginal scarring.
The devices are even associated with urinary problems. The prevalence of these harmful side effects has led to a proliferation of lawsuits throughout the country.
Health Experts Weigh in on the Risks of Vaginal Mesh Devices
In July 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a formal statement warning the public about the serious complications associated with vaginal mesh devices/implants. In the statement, the FDA said that complications were not rare and that the implants were not definitively more effective than more traditional treatment options.
In addition, the FDA noted the complications aren’t limited to one specific manufacturer: This is an important distinction, given the number of brands and manufacturers involved in ongoing litigation.
Lawsuits Stemming from Vaginal Mesh Device Injuries Abound
Roughly 5,000 vaginal mesh implant lawsuits have been filed against Endo American Health Systems. Those individual claims were consolidated and will go before a federal judge later this year, according to Bloomberg.
Other companies who have faced vaginal-mesh device lawsuits include Bard and Johnson & Johnson. In 2012, Bard was found liable for injuries relating to the Avalta Plus implant. The company was found liable for $3.6 million. In early 2013, Johnson & Johnson was forced to pay more than $11 million in a lawsuit filed by a female patient who suffered injuries in connection with the company’s Gynecare Prolift vaginal mesh device. More than $3 million of the settlement was paid in punitive damages, stemming from the company’s failure to warn patients adequately.
Patients who have suffered injury because of a defective medical device – such as a vaginal mesh implant – should speak to an injury attorney about rights to compensation. Call for a free consultation or fill out our contact form to get connected with our legal team today: 1-800-246-4878.