C.R. Bard Could Face Billions in Damages from Mesh Lawsuits

Nancy Crotti

December 12, 2014

3 Min Read
C.R. Bard Could Face Billions in Damages from Mesh Lawsuits

A federal judge has warned C.R. Bard Inc. (BCR) to settle outstanding pelvic mesh lawsuits or face billions of dollars in jury awards to plaintiffs, according to a report by Bloomberg.

"I can't imagine a corporation facing potentially billions of dollars in verdicts wouldn't find it advisable to try to achieve a settlement for a much lesser sum," U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin, sitting in Charleston, WV, said at a December 9 hearing, according to a transcript obtained by Bloomberg. "I base that billions of dollars business on some of the rather large verdicts that we've had."

Goodwin is overseeing all federal-court litigation involving the implants.

The Murray Hill, NJ-based company faces more than 12,000 lawsuits filed by women who claim the implants have damaged their organs, made sexual intercourse painful, and left them in constant pain, Bloomberg said.

Transvaginal mesh implants are used in the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic floor repair, and stress urinary incontinence. Potential causes for these conditions include childbirth, hysterectomy, obesity, and normal aging. In order to treat them, a transvaginal mesh is surgically attached to or implanted, using the vaginal wall as an anchor point. However, several meshes used in the procedure have been found to cause complications in some patients, including erosion of internal tissues and organs, painful sexual intercourse, infection, and urinary problems. 

Plaintiffs have won multi-million-dollar awards in cases against C.R. Bard and other medtech companies.

In August 2013, a federal jury in West Virginia ordered C.R. Bard to pay $2 million to a woman who was allegedly injured by the company's vaginal mesh device. Bloomberg reported that the company agreed in October to settle 500 suits for about $21 million, in its first large-scale resolution of vaginal-mesh cases, people familiar with the accord said.

In an SEC filing in July, the company said that it was facing personal injury claims filed by approximately 12,445 plaintiffs in state and federal court over its women's surgical continence products. It also acknowledged facing "material additional costs" if ordered by the District Court in West Virginia to prepare for trials.

"The company anticipates that multiple additional trials, including a possible consolidated trial, may occur in early 2015," Bard said in the SEC filing. "Additional state court trials are scheduled throughout the second half of 2014.... it cannot give any assurances that the resolution of these claims will not have a material adverse effect on the company's business, results of operations, financial condition and/or liquidity."

In March, Bloomberg reported that Denmark-based Coloplast agreed to pay about $16 million to settle about 400 cases involving its transvaginal mesh implants. The settlement allowed each woman to receive about $40,000. Previously, one woman reportedly received over $11 million in a jury award from Johnson & Johnson.

Nancy Crotti is a contributor to Qmed and MPMN.

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About the Author(s)

Nancy Crotti

Nancy Crotti is a frequent contributor to MD+DI. Reach her at [email protected].

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