For women suffering from pelvic mesh complications, holding the manufacturers responsible for their defective devices is incredibly important. Luckily, for some victims, a resolution to their claims has finally arrived. One popular pelvic mesh manufacturer, Endo International PLC, has agreed to pay $750 million to settle 22,000 pelvic mesh lawsuits.
Women have been complaining of severe complications from vaginal mesh products for many years, and in 2016, Endo decided to shut down one of its units that was producing the devices. The decision came after the company was faced with thousands of pelvic mesh lawsuits.
This latest settlement is not the first the company has made. Endo has agreed to several large settlements over the past few years totaling $2.6 billion. Endo might now be able to wash its hands of the defective devices, but other manufacturers are still drowning in tens of thousands of transvaginal mesh lawsuits.
Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is facing over 54,000 pelvic mesh lawsuits. Unlike Endo, J&J has gone to great lengths to fight its defective mesh lawsuits in court, but the company hasn’t been very successful. This past January, the first pelvic mesh case to go to trial against J&J was finally concluded when the Supreme Court of New Jersey declined to hear an appeal from the manufacturers. The original verdict awarding the plaintiff $11 million in damages was upheld. J&J has lost four consecutive pelvic mesh trials, including the most recent verdict in June that awarded the plaintiff $2.16 million in damages.
Endo’s settlement and J&J’s courtroom losses are having a profound effect on pelvic mesh litigations against other manufacturers. Other manufacturers like Boston Scientific, C.R. Bard, and Cook Medical, among others, might decide to follow Endo’s example and settle their losses now, rather than suffer J&J’s multiple multimillion-dollar losses in court.
Court Rulings Will Stick
The first transvaginal mesh case to go to trial finally came to a conclusion in January 2017. The plaintiff was a South Dakota woman named Linda Gross who experienced severe complications from the transvaginal mesh product she had implanted. Although Ms. Gross’s trial concluded in 2013, device manufacturer defendants Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon fought the verdict for over three years. However, the Supreme Court of New Jersey declined to hear an appeal from the manufacturers, allowing the original jury verdict to stand. This sends a clear message to vaginal mesh manufacturers that jury verdicts and awards will stand up to appeals.