Transvaginal mesh implants have been in the news recently because of the growing list of safety issues associated with the defective devices. But the news now has taken a frightening turn: Sellers are trying to unload the dangerous mesh through online retailer eBay to unsuspecting customers.
Recent auctions show products from the Bard Avaulta line for sale, including a single Plus Posterior mesh for $50 and two Anterior Support System products for $200. According to eBay, the listings originate in the United States.
Mesh Products Recalled
However, manufacturer C.R. Bard actually stopped selling its Avaulta Plus in the United States at the beginning of July, when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered more clinical trials because of safety concerns. Despite the FDA’s reluctance to endorse the Avaulta Plus, Bard continues to sell its transvaginal mesh devices in other countries.
The same two Avaulta Plus mesh devices that currently are for sale on eBay were at the center of the first transvaginal mesh lawsuit to go to trial in the United States. Christine Scott of Bakersfield, Calif., had Bard anterior and posterior synthetic support systems — Avaulta Plus products — surgically placed in her body in 2008 to correct occasional urinary incontinence.
She immediately began to have serious complications in her pelvic region that included erosion of the mesh into nearby tissues, organ perforation and difficulty urinating. She suffered from chronic pain and was unable to have sexual intercourse with her husband. Doctors tried nine additional procedures and eight revision surgeries before they determined the mesh could not be safely removed.
Scott sued Bard and a doctor and was awarded a landmark $5 million by the jury in July. Her husband won an additional $500,000 because the permanent damage to Scott’s body left them unable to have sexual intercourse.
Federal Lawsuits Against Bard
Bard is facing so many similar federal lawsuits that they have been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Southern District of West Virginia. A judicial panel determined that by centralizing the Bard transvaginal mesh cases, the court will save time and resources because they will share the testimony and evidence presented in the discovery phase of litigation. Plaintiffs still retain the right to individual trials, with personal judgments and potential monetary settlements.
The first transvaginal mesh case in the MDL, which is overseen by Judge Joseph R. Goodwin, is scheduled to go to trial on Feb. 5, 2013. Judge Goodwin also is presiding over four other transvaginal mesh MDLs — Ethicon (Johnson & Johnson); American Medical Systems; Boston Scientific; and Coloplast. A sixth, involving Mentor OB Tape, is being heard by Judge Clay D. Land in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.