C.R. Bard Settles 3000 Mesh Cases for $200 Million

C.R. Bard recently agreed to pay $200 million dollars to settle 3,000 cases of injury suffered by women who were implanted with transvaginal mesh. Toward the end of 2014, Bard paid out $21 million to settle approximately 500 cases which translated to about $42,000 per claim. The current settlement will give the 3,000 women approximately $67,000 each. Bard paid out some hefty settlements in 2012 and 2013 related to transvaginal mesh injuries including a California case which settled for $5.5 million. In the California case, $5 million was awarded in punitive damages, which appears to show the jury was convinced Bard was aware of the risks associated with transvaginal mesh, yet did nothing to warn consumers.

C.R. Bard faced more than 12,000 transvaginal mesh injury cases, which were consolidated in a West Virginia federal court. More than 80,000 mesh injury cases have been filed and thus far, more than $1 billion has been paid out in settlements or lost verdicts from all manufacturers of transvaginal mesh implants. American Medical Systems recently announced a settlement in the amount of $1.6 billion, while Johnson & Johnson quietly settled about 100 individual mesh injury lawsuits in early 2015, but has thousands more to face. J & J has said they will fight at least some of the pending mesh lawsuits. Boston Scientific settled approximately 3,000 mesh injury cases in April, 2015, and still has thousands to face. The current C.R. Bard settlement resolves about a fifth of the outstanding suits related to transvaginal mesh injury.

What are the Problems Associated with Transvaginal Mesh Implants?

Following delivery of several children, or as a result of a hysterectomy or menopause, the pelvic muscles may no longer be able to support a woman’s internal organs. The uterus may begin to press on the bladder, leading to incontinence. Any time the ligaments are stretched beyond their ability to bounce back, pelvic organ prolapse can result. Unfortunately, after thousands of women were implanted with transvaginal mesh, it was found the mesh devices could erode through surrounding organs, causing significant levels of damage, including infection, scar tissue and chronic, severe pain. In many cases mesh erosion can require multiple surgical procedures to repair the damage. If the implanted mesh contracts, the vagina can tighten and shorten, leading to constant pelvic pain or severe pain during intercourse. Obviously this level of relentless pain could also lead to emotional damage.

Study Shows High Rate of Erosion after Only Three Months

One transvaginal mesh trial concluded there was a 15.6 percent erosion rate after only three months when transvaginal mesh was used. Many of the lawsuits against manufacturers of transvaginal mesh implants allege the manufacturers did not inform women of the potential risks associated with implantation of the mesh. Rather than issuing a recall, it is likely the FDA will call for additional changes in labeling so those undergoing a procedure where transvaginal mesh will be used fully understand the risks. The West Virginia judge who is overseeing the transvaginal mesh cases urged C.R. Bard to consider settling a large number of the cases due to the very real risk of jury awards in the billions of dollars.

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