Boston Scientific ordered to pay $26.7 million over mesh devices

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 13, 2014 4:21 PM

By Jessica Dye and Zachary Fagenson

MIAMI (Reuters) - Boston Scientific Corp was ordered Thursday to pay four women a total of $26.7 million after it was found liable for selling faulty transvaginal mesh devices, in one of the first federal trials among thousands of suits over the products.

After deliberating for a few hours, the jury in Miami federal court found Boston Scientific liable to the four women following an eight-day trial. Plaintiffs said they suffered injuries such as pain, bleeding and infection as a result of the company’s Pinnacle device, used to treat pelvic organ prolapse.

The company was ordered to pay the women $26.7 million in compensatory damages, between $6.5 million and $6.7 million each, and will not face additional punitive damages.

Boston Scientific is facing 14,000 federal lawsuits over its mesh devices, which are used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. It is one of seven companies - including Johnson & Johnson's Ethicon Inc and C.R. Bard - that have been hit with thousands of suits over the products. One company, Endo International Plc, said in September it had set aside $1.6 billion to settle "substantially all" the cases against it and its American Medical Systems unit.

During the trial in Miami, one of the first in federal court against Boston Scientific, plaintiffs' lawyers accused it of failing to perform critical safety studies in its rush to bring the device to market. Boston Scientific denied that it had done anything wrong and said that each woman and her doctor had been aware of the risks.

One plaintiff, Amal Eghnayem, said Thursday the verdict was fair. A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Jim Perdue, said, "this company needs to understand that jurors will understand what they did, and will not hesitate to award the damages necessary."

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A lawyer for Boston Scientific declined to comment.

Boston Scientific previously faced three trials in state court over the mesh, resulting in two wins for the company and one $73 million loss, later reduced to $34 million.

Boston Scientific is currently in the midst of another federal trial in West Virginia involving claims from four women implanted with the company's Obtryx device for stress urinary incontinence.

The Miami and West Virginia cases are both "bellwether," or test, trials, which will help both sides assess the claims' value.

(Reporting by Jessica Dye in New York and Zachary Fagenson in Miami; Editing by Chris Reese, Alexia Garamfalvi and Bernard Orr)