Transvaginal mesh devices are designed to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in 2010, of the 300,000 women who had surgery for POP, 1 in 3 used transvaginal mesh devices. At the same time, of the 260,000 women who underwent surgery for SUI in 2010, 80% involved transvaginal mesh.
Unfortunately, many women have suffered an array of injuries as a result of the use of these devices. More specifically, there are more than 3,600 cases against transvaginal mesh manufacturer CR Bard, Inc.’s Avaulta alone in the United States. Notably, Bard is not the only transvaginal mesh company being sued. Other companies named as defendants in suits nationwide include American Medical Systems, Johnson & Johnson, and Boston Scientific Corp. In total, one judge has been assigned to manage nearly 23,000 cases involving these companies, among others. In these cases, women allege that erosion of the mesh products caused intense pain, infection, organ damage, made sexual intercourse painful and caused women to have to undergo additional surgical procedures to remove the mesh products.
Many of these cases have been consolidated in the Multidistrict Litigation Court in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of West Virginia. One such of these cases is Cisson v. Bard, Inc. In Cisson, the plaintiff alleges that Bard executives ignored warnings from the company that manufactured the plastic placed in the devices that the plastic should not be permanently implanted in people. The Cisson trial, however, which began in early July 2013, was declared a mistrial after only two days of trial after a witness disobeyed the court’s order and testified about the devices’ marketing.
Meanwhile, according to Reuters, in June 2013, Endo Health Solutions, which owns American Medical Systems, Inc., agreed to pay more than $54.5 million to settle thousands of lawsuits in North America alleging its vaginal-mesh implants eroded and caused women pain. In addition, two women have received sizable verdicts after suing mesh manufacturers for their injuries. First, in July 2012, a California woman and her husband who sued C.R. Bard were awarded $5.5 million by a jury after she was forced to undergo nine revision surgeries. Next, in February 2013, a New Jersey woman won $11.1 million in her lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon brand over its vaginal mesh product. In that case, the plaintiff underwent eleven surgeries.