A federal jury handed Boston Scientific its second trial loss in a matter of weeks and ordered the device maker to pay $18.5 million to women who say the company’s transvaginal mesh implants caused them injuries.
The Charleston, West Virginia, jury found the company liable for producing faulty mesh products that left four women in constant pain and with severe injuries, Bloomberg reported. Included in award is $4 million in punitive damages – $1 million to each of four plaintiffs. Awards for each of the women ranged from $3.25 to $4.25 million.
The jury deliberated for more than six hours and concluded that the Obtryx mesh sling used to treat incontinence had a defective design, and the company failed to warn the plaintiffs and health care providers about the risks.
This is Boston Scientific’s second multi-million dollar trial loss this month linked to its pelvic mesh devices. A Florida jury last week returned a $26.7 million verdict in favor of four women who sued the company after they said they were injured by the company’s Pinnacle mesh implant.
“In these cases, the jurors clearly understood that Boston Scientific moved too quickly in bringing its product to market, and that it used inappropriate materials while at the same time failing to warn doctors and patients about the risks involved,” plaintiff’s attorney Harry Bell told the National Law Journal.
Boston Scientific stands by their products, claiming they are “safe” and “high-quality” and intends to challenge the verdict.
“We disagree with the verdict based on the strength of our evidence and will vigorously pursue post-trial motions and appeal,” company spokeswoman Kelly Leadem said in an emailed statement to the National Law Journal.
Company Failed to Perform Safety Testing
The women’s lawsuits claimed the Obtryx mesh sling used to treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI) caused them pain during sex, nerve damage and severe infections. Women in both Boston Scientific trials this month said the company’s mesh implants also caused organ damage and tissue erosion, leading to severe pain and several additional surgeries.
According to plaintiffs’ lawyers, the Massachusetts-based device company failed to test its mesh products properly before selling them. The also said the mesh is made of polypropylene, a plastic not approved for permanent implantation in human bodies.
The jury concluded Boston Scientific was guilty of “gross negligence,” plaintiffs’ attorney Doug Monsour told Reuters. “This jury, after carefully thinking about the evidence for two days, came to the proper decision that this was a defective product,” Monsour said.
Thousands More Lawsuits
Boston Scientific faces about 24,000 transvaginal mesh lawsuits still pending in state and federal courts. Prior to the verdicts this month, a Texas state jury ordered the company to pay $73 million to another woman, and it was later reduced to $35 million because of state limits on damages.
Lawyers say lawsuits are still pouring in against a number of mesh makers including Johnson & Johnson and C.R. Bard – who lost its appeal to overturn a $5.5 million verdict in the case of Christine Scott. Scott had 8 surgeries to correct erosion caused by the company’s Avaulta mesh.
There are over 60,000 lawsuits pending in federal court in West Virginia before Judge Joseph R. Goodwin.