Boston Scientific ordered to hand over $18.5M in vaginal mesh litigation

The Obtryx sling implant--Courtesy of Boston Scientific

Less than a week after Boston Scientific ($BSX) lost its second courtroom battle over vaginal mesh implants, a federal jury ordered the company to pay $18.5 million in damages to four women who claimed the devices caused them constant pain and injuries.

Federal court jurors in Charleston, WV, found that Boston Scientific officials failed to adequately warn the women and their doctors about risks related to its Obtryx implants for urinary incontinence. The jury awarded the plaintiffs $18.5 million in damages, including $4 million in punitive damages, Bloomberg reports.

The finding comes on the heels of another unfavorable verdict for Boston Scientific, as last week jurors in a Miami federal court found that the Marlborough, MA-based company's Pinnacle implants for pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence were defectively designed and that company officials did not alert doctors and patients about the devices' risks. The panel awarded four women a total of $26.7 million in damages, including three awards of more than $6.7 million, but did not tack on compensatory damages.

Boston Scientific said it disagreed with the Miami federal court jury's findings and that it has "strong grounds to overturn the verdict on post-trial motions and on appeal," company spokeswoman Kelly Leadem told Bloomberg in an emailed statement.

Meanwhile, Boston Scientific continues to wade through more than 23,000 claims related to its vaginal mesh implants in U.S. state and federal courts, including cases consolidated before U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin in West Virginia and 1,700 cases assigned to one judge in Massachusetts state court.

The company scored a victory in July when it won the first case to go to trial in Massachusetts state court over a vaginal mesh implant. But in September, the devicemaker lost a battle when a Texas state jury ordered the device giant to pony up $73 million to a woman who claimed chronic pain and injury from Boston Scientific's Obtryx sling implant. A trial judge later reduced the award to $34.6 million.

But Boston Scientific is not the only company facing mesh-related woes. Device heavyweights like Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), C.R. Bard ($BCR) and Endo ($ENDP) are also dealing with claims over vaginal mesh products, waging courtroom battles or opting to settle suits instead. In September, a federal jury in West Virginia ordered J&J's Ethicon division to hand over $3.27 million to a woman who claimed that the company's transvaginal mesh device caused undue pain and serious side effects.

Eager to lay claims to rest, Coloplast in March forked over $16 million to settle lawsuits over vaginal-mesh inserts. Endo followed suit, and said in October that it would add $400 million to its $1.2 billion reserve to resolve claims over vaginal mesh products by its American Medical Systems subsidiary.

- here's the Bloomberg story

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