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Bard Avaulta Mesh Lawsuits Consolidated in West Virginia

Oct 29, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP

Lawsuits involving the C.R. Bard Avaulta vaginal mesh have been consolidated in a multidistrict litigation in the US District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. The Bard Avaulta lawsuits will be presided over by US District Judge Joseph Goodwin.

The Bard Avaulta Mesh is a surgical mesh used to treat pelvic prolapse. So far, around 36 Bard Avaulta lawsuits are pending in the multidistrict litigation. They allege that C.R. Bard was negligent in the product’s design and in failing to warn patients of possible complications with Bard Avaulta mesh. Some doctors have also been named in these lawsuits, which also claim that the Bard Avaulta mesh was improperly and negligently implanted in patients. 

It is believed that the Bard Avaulta surgical mesh design inhibits surrounding tissue from receiving nutrients and oxygen, causing impaired healing. This can lead to complications that may require further surgery.

In deciding to consolidate the lawsuits, the US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation said centralization in West Virginia would facilitate coordination with 11 cases pending in Cabell County circuit court. The panel chose Judge Goodwin after consulting with judges in the district. Judge Goodwin currently presides over a multidistrict litigation involving Digitek heart medicine.

A multidistrict litigation allows lawsuits to be coordinated under one judge for pretrial litigation to avoid duplicative discovery, inconsistent rulings and to conserve the resources of the parties, witnesses and the court. When lawsuits are consolidated as a multidistrict litigation, each retains its own identity. If the MDL process does not resolve the cases, they are transferred back to the court where they originated for trial.

In October 2008, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warned that the use of vaginal mesh to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence had been linked to serious complications. At the time, the agency said it had received more than 1,000 repots of vaginal mesh complications, including erosion of the mesh through the vaginal epithelium, infection, pain, urinary problems, and recurrence of the prolapse or the incontinence. There were also reports of bowel, bladder, and blood vessel perforation during insertion. In some cases, vaginal scarring and mesh erosion led to a significant decrease in quality of life due to discomfort and pain, including dyspareunia.

Just last week, an article in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology reported that a clinical trial involving vaginal mesh was halted early because women who received the mesh had a far higher rate of complications compared to those who underwent a more traditional procedure called colpopexy. According to the article, more than 15 percent of the patients who received the mesh experienced erosions. Overall, there were five vaginal mesh erosions. Two cystotomies and one blood transfusion occurred in the mesh group only. The mesh also failed to work any better than the traditional procedure.


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