A group of Canadian women who suffered ill-effects from implantation of a medical device called transvaginal mesh will receive a total of $21.5 million in compensation, recent court records show.
The class-action settlement was reached between about 325 women who received the implants and the manufacturer of the device, Boston Scientific. The women’s share of the money will depend on the severity of their medical issues.
In approving the settlement, class definition, and proposed method of reaching out to class members, Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Perell noted the agreement is similar to another recently approved class action involving the mesh.
The net-like implants are used to treat conditions such as stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse. The implants are designed to reinforce a weak vaginal wall or support the urethra or bladder neck.
The polypropylene mesh is widely used.
Many recipients have had array of serious side effects
However, many recipients have had an array of serious side effects.
Boston Scientific is the Canadian subsidiary of its Delaware-based parent and is the sole distributor of the company’s transvaginal mesh devices in Canada. The product has been implanted in thousands of Canadian women.
Among other complications, Vester said she suffered urinary problems, difficulty walking, emotional stress and pain during sexual intercourse. She argued she was unaware of the risks before the surgery and would have refused the procedure had she known.
Vester and her husband sued Boston Scientific, alleging the devices were defective and unsafe. Among other things, they argued the mesh was negligently designed and sold, and that recipients had required intensive surgical interventions to try to alleviate the side effects.
Company said pre-existing conditions to blame
The company maintained her complaints were the result of pre-existing medical conditions, not the mesh. It denied the product caused the problems about which the women complained.
After initially refusing to do so in 2015, Perell certified the lawsuit as a class action in February 2017.
The settlement also applies to about 20 women who’ve had the implants since the action was certified, and they have 60 days to opt out. Boston stopped selling the devices for treating pelvic organ prolapse last July.
In an earnings call last month, the U.S. company’s chief financial officer said Boston was working to resolve litigation over the mesh.
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