Ethicon Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits Now Exceed 10,000

Staff Writer | October 29th, 2013

Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits

A recent Newsday report claims there are now more than 10,000 transvaginal mesh lawsuits pending against Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. The cases have been coordinated in federal litigation proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia (MDL No. 2327).

A case list update issued on September 24 records 10,108 lawsuits alleging vaginal mesh complications arising from Ethicon’s Gynecare line of products. The claims range from mesh erosion to organ perforations and infection. A number of cases have been selected for bellwether trials, set to begin on August 19, 2014.

Thousands of Ethicon transvaginal mesh lawsuits have also been compiled as part of a multicounty litigation currently underway in New Jersey’s Atlantic County Superior Court. As of Sep 23, 4,421 cases have been filed at this venue.

Vaginal mesh litigation

A total of 30,000 cases concerning vaginal mesh complications are pending against C.R. Bard, American Medical Systems, Coloplast and Boston Scientific Corp, as well as Ethicon. These five companies are currently in talks to settle, and plaintiffs are demanding a settlement committee be established to deal with the process. The total number of suits is expected to grow to more than 50,000 as more women become aware of the ongoing litigation.

Bard alone is at the center of more than 12,000 lawsuits, and Boston Scientific is facing a similar number of claims. American Medical Systems (AMS) are being sued by 13,500 people at state and federal levels. Danish firm Coloplast is facing a few hundred transvaginal mesh lawsuits.

A pretrial order issued in July named four cases for bellwether hearings in the AMS multidistrict litigation, with the first trial scheduled to begin in December.

Some tranvaginal mesh lawsuits settled

Coloplast is the closest to settling all of its cases, which total 600. The company aims to resolve all lawsuits by year’s end.

Bard has settled a handful of cases after losing two trials regarding their mesh products. In 2012, a California jury found Bard liable for a woman’s injuries. Her case, which concerned Bard’s Avaulta implant, was the first transvaginal mesh lawsuit to reach court. Jurors ruled Bard must pay $5.5 million to the plaintiff.

Following an FDA order for all makers of mesh products to conduct studies into the link between the devices and organ damage and infection, Bard withdrew the Avaulta mesh from the market last year.

Life threatening injuries linked to pelvic mesh

The FDA has determined that transvaginal mesh products have been shown to provide no additional benefit compared to other, safer treatments for pelvic organ prolapse. The FDA received more than one thousand adverse event reports during a three year period. They also reported a five-fold increase in complaints during 2011, and later announced that injuries associated with vaginal mesh products may have occurred in as many as one in ten recipients, meaning that vaginal mesh complications were no longer considered a rare occurrence.

Between 2005 and 2010, three deaths linked to vaginal mesh implants were reported. After the report emerged, the FDA was urged by the Public Citizen’s Health Research Group to recommend a recall of all devices.