It only took a Miami jury only four hours to find Boston Scientific guilty of failing to warn doctors and patients about the risks associated with their defectively designed Pinnacle pelvic-organ implants. This verdict was handed down two weeks ago.
This was the first federal trial involving Boston Scientific and the first mesh trial to involve more than one plaintiff. The jurors awarded $26.7 million to four women over claims the company’s mesh devices had injured them. One of the more shocking allegations revealed during the trial was that officials at Boston Scientific had ignored calls for more testing of the pelvic-organ implants and rushed the production and marketing of the devices before they had been adequately tested. Evidence was also introduced claiming that the mesh used in the Boston Scientific’s Pinnacle insert was never approved for use within the human body.
Boston Scientific is facing more than 30,000 lawsuits nationwide from women who claim their mesh products were defective and caused painful and debilitating injuries. The mesh products in question are bladder slings and transvaginal mesh products used to repair pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence. All of these cases come after the makers of these devices, including Boston Scientific, were ordered by the FDA in 2012 to study rates of organ damage and complications linked to the mesh products.
Currently many of the mesh cases have been consolidated in U.S. District Court in Charleston, West Virginia. There are also cases filed in state courts in Delaware, New Jersey, Missouri, Texas and California. To Date all the high profile mesh lawsuits have been won by the plaintiffs. In September a jury ordered Boston Scientific to pay $73 million in damages to a women who had been severely injured by one of their defective mesh implants. That same month a federal jury in West Virginia awarded $3.27 million in one of the 33,000 lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon Unit. Ethicon is being accused of selling defective transvaginal mesh devices that were used in uro-gynecological surgeries to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.
In an interview given to Bloomberg news, Carl Tobias who teaches product-liability law at the University of Richmond in Virginia said, “Boston Scientific better start giving serious consideration to doing a global settlement of these vaginal mesh cases. This verdict reinforces the substantial liability they are facing and it’s growing with each verdict.”
The time has come for the makers of these dangerous mesh products to take responsibility for the horrible problems experienced by women who have received these defective devices. This verdict in Miami is another clear signal that Boston Scientific and other manufacturers will be held responsible for the dangerous mesh products they sold.
Credit: Joseph H. Saunders