Vaginal mesh lawsuits are escalating in Scotland

Hundreds of women in Scotland are prepping lawsuits alleging that their vaginal mesh implants caused them harm, underscoring the global nature of the brewing legal mess behind the controversial medical devices.

The Belfast Telegraph reported that as many as 400 women have filed damages claims. One law firm in Scotland alone said that more than 50 cases are under investigation, according to the story.

Vaginal mesh implants/inserts are designed to support internal organs and treat urinary incontinence. But thousands of lawsuits escalating globally allege the devices have caused injury and even death in some cases, leading to organ damage, infection and painful sex. The growing roster of Scottish lawsuits allege the implants have caused injury and forced some plaintiffs to give up sex after the implants hardened inside them, according to the story.

The Belfast Telegraph story doesn't specify which companies are targeted in the lawsuit. But Boston Scientific ($BSX), Cook Medical, C.R. Bard ($BCR), Endo Health Solutions ($ENDP) and Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) are among vaginal mesh manufacturers dealing with rising lawsuits. Excluding J&J, those companies are rumored to be negotiating a global settlement involving thousands of cases. Danish medical device maker Coloplast reportedly paid $16 million to settle lawsuits claiming that its vaginal-mesh inserts injured women.

Regardless of the lawsuits and the possibility of settlement, vaginal mesh lawsuits could prove to be more complex to pursue than cases involving substandard breast implants and all metal hips that have received serious legal traction over the last few years. That, as the story noted, is because health officials in the U.K. have noted that vaginal mesh can produce benefits that outweigh any risks, such as addressing conditions including urinary stress incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. And that data is likely to become part of pending and future legal discussions involving allegations that vaginal mesh implants caused patients harm.

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