Pharmaceutical

Transvaginal mesh lawsuits consolidated in federal court

Lawsuits against vaginal mesh manufacturers have been centralized in multidistrict litigations (MDL) in West Virginia. Plaintiffs allege that the medical devices made by companies including Boston Scientific Corp. and Ethicon Inc., caused serious injury and debilitating pain. The more than 100 lawsuits have been transferred to federal court in the Southern District of West Virginia.

The MDL follows a consolidation of lawsuits in the same jurisdiction against a fourth transvaginal mesh manufacturer, Bard. Hundreds of cases are also pending in state courts across the nation, and several bellwether trials in state court are set for trial in the near future.

Transvaginal mesh is a type of surgical mesh used for the repair of common pelvic floor disorders including pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence. It is designed to shore up organs, such as the bladder and uterus, that have dropped, or prolapsed, due to age, obesity or childbirth.

Lawsuits against transvaginal mesh manufacturers have skyrocketed since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned of complications with the devices last summer. The agency reported that between 2008-2010, more than 1,500 reports of problems associated with the devices in the repair of pelvic organ prolapse had been recorded – five times more than what the agency received between 2005-2007. Problems associated with the devices include the mesh eroding, migrating, or poking through the pelvic wall or into other organs, causing pain, incontinence, and a loss of quality of life.

The FDA ordered a safety review of transvaginal mesh. Despite pressure from consumer groups to ban the mesh for pelvic floor disorders, the panel ultimately decided to keep the mesh on the market.

Source: Lawyers USA