A number of device companies face thousands of lawsuits in the U.S. alone accusing them of selling faulty vaginal mesh implants that harmed countless women. Now, 5 of the companies involved are reportedly looking to settle.
Bloomberg reports that C.R. Bard ($BCR), Boston Scientific ($BSX), Endo Health Solutions ($ENDP), Coloplast A/S in Denmark and Cook Medical are involved in talks with plaintiffs. Citing "people familiar with the discussions," the news agency noted that the process is already advancing steadily.
According to the story, plaintiffs' lawyers have already asked U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin in Charleston, WV, to appoint a settlement committee. (Goodwin oversees federal lawsuits involving the mesh implants.) At issue are more than 30,000 implant lawsuits consolidated before Goodwin, though the sources told Bloomberg that number could surpass 50,000 before the process is complete.
Conspicuously absent from the talks so far: Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), which alone faces more than 12,250 vaginal mesh lawsuits, the story notes.
Spokespersons from each of the affected companies declined to comment to Bloomberg.
Bard offered a test case for companies that may very well have spurred the push for settlement talks. Earlier in September, Bard settled a lawsuit alleging its Avaulta vaginal mesh implant had injured a woman. The company lost a recent case in West Virginia but had planned to appeal the $2 million verdict. In 2012, Bard lost an Avaulta case in a California jury trial and was ordered to pay $3.6 million.
New Jersey-based Bard took a $275.1 million litigation charge earlier this year related to the lawsuits, an action that smashed its bottom line and led to a sizable net loss. The example Bard likely sets for the others: These lawsuits are risky and costly, and it may be better to try to resolve the issue once and for all, contain the financial impact and move on.
- here's the full Bloomberg story