Recently in defective products Category

Lee v. Smith & Wesson Corporation: Admissibility of Expert Testimony in a Personal Injury Case

Our Boston personal injury lawyers know rules of evidence can lead to complex litigation.

pistol-443691-m.jpgIn Lee v. Smith & Wesson Corporation, the plaintiff was injured while shooting target practice with his revolver manufactured by the defendant. The plaintiff fired two shots without incident and, on the third shot, was severely injured when the gun hit him in the eye.

According to the plaintiff's testimony, the cylinder that holds the bullets swung open after the shot was fired due a manufacturing defect and hit him in the safety glasses. The safety glasses broke, causing significant trauma and loss of vision to his right eye.

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GM Misled Families on Fatal Ignition Defect

In May 2009, engineers at GM learned that black box evidence obtained from Chevrolet Cobalts confirmed that hundreds of thousands of cars had fatal defects. The evidence showed that if the vehicle was bumped or weighed down, the engine's power could shut down and deactivate airbags. Despite this knowledge, along with additional documents and studies that confirmed the report, GM told families of accident victims that it did not have enough evidence to confirm the defect. After years of denial, GM finally recalled 1.6 million Cobalts and other vehicles that could also be affected by the defect.
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When a defective or dangerous product causes harm to a consumer, the company must be held liable. While many corporations may fight allegations on other grounds, this is a case of egregious deceit in an attempt to deny victims their rightful recovery. Failure to admit the fatal defects has also put hundreds of thousands of additional motorists and their passengers in danger. Our Boston personal injury attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of accident victims.

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High-End Bicycle Recalls Highlight Risks of Defective Products in Cycling

When looking for a new bicycle, most of us want one that fits our needs. Whether that's our color preference, the size or the way it rides, we all want a bike that will work for us. But how many of us think about safety when purchasing a new bike? We kind of just assume that it's made properly and default free upon purchase.

But often we're wrong.
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Officials with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have recalled a number of bikes in recent weeks. These recalls have been because of faulty brakes, fall hazards and serious injury risks.

Our Boston defective products attorneys understand that consumers were deluged with 2,363 recalls last year, or about 6.5 recalls each day, covering consumer products, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and food, according to data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Agriculture and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Many of these recalls involve expense bikes aimed at serious riders.

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Toyota Moves Forward in Sudden Acceleration Settlements

In previous posts we have discussed the injuries and deaths involving Toyota's "sudden acceleration" accidents. While Toyota once objected to the notion that the vehicles automatically accelerated and caused accidents, the company has now agreed to move forward in an intensive settlement process on behalf of accident victims and their families. As with most large-scale product liability and defective products cases, the facts can be complicated and involve numerous victims. In this case, the company is likely moving forward to prevent additional public exposure and to prevent an extended trial period for these cases.

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Any car accident case may involve a defective part or product. If you or someone you love was involved in an accident, you should consult an experienced advocate who can investigate your case and uncover the cause of the injuries or fatalities. Our Boston personal injury attorneys are experienced with complex car accident and products liability claims and can effectively protect your rights and interests. We are also dedicated to staying abreast of cases involving multiple injuries and accidents caused by defective products.

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Defective Airbags Could Put You At Risk- Has Your Car Been Recalled?

Airbags are one of the most important safety features in your vehicle as the airbag can cushion the blow and reduce the force of impact you feel in an auto accident. When airbags don't work, the risk of serious injury significantly increases. A failure to deploy isn't even the biggest risk, as an airbag that deploys suddenly when it isn't supposed to could actually cause an accident that leads to serious injury or death. car-crash-1432754-m.jpg

Our Boston defective products lawyers know that auto manufacturers are responsible for ensuring the safety of all vehicles, including safety features like the airbag. Unfortunately, things can still go wrong. It is important for every driver to keep up-to-date on news of car recalls and to respond promptly if they learn that their car is being recalled because of an airbag problem or other defect. Recently, for example, as many as 803,000 owners of Toyota crossover vehicles and sedans got news that their vehicle is now being subject to a recall.

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Is Stryker Letting Down Its Customers When It Comes to Safety?

The medical device manufacturer, Stryker, describes itself as "one of the world's leading medical technology companies" that is "dedicated to helping healthcare professionals perform their jobs more efficiently while enhancing patient care." With such a positive description of their dedication to enhancing patient care, it would be reasonable for patients to expect that the company takes safety seriously and that the company doesn't release products on the market that are dangerous. books-and-pages-913588-m.jpg

In fact, our Boston defective hip implant lawyers know that patients have the right to expect that every medical device that is manufactured and sold is tested and is safe. Product liability laws in the United States are designed to ensure that manufacturers take the blame for any failure in their devices specifically because they are in the best position to test them and ensure they won't hurt patients. As such, if a medical device turns out to be defective and causes unexpected harm to patients, the individuals who are hurt don't even have to prove negligence to file a lawsuit and recover compensation.

Despite the laws protecting patients, however, news of yet another recalled Stryker product may raise concern among patients that the company perhaps has some deficiencies in its product testing systems that could be putting customers at risk.

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Failure to Warn in Transvaginal Mesh Cases

Recently, our Boston transvaginal mesh lawyers reported that two transvaginal mesh claims had been resolved, one in a settlement and one in which the jury awarded a plaintiff $2 million in compensation. warning-icon-glossy-6-1023556-m.jpg

In awarding the monetary compensation to the plaintiff, the jury indicated that the transvaginal mesh product was defective and that the manufacturer, C.R. Bard Inc. was liable for failure to warn. Failure to warn is a specific legal term that will come up again in other transvaginal mesh claims and that is also important in many other cases brought against companies who release dangerous products, unsafe drugs or defective medical devices.

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Judge Releases New Case Management Order in Stryker Hip Implant Litigation

Throughout the United States, there are hundreds of lawsuits pending against Stryker based on its Stryker Rejuvenate and Stryker ABG II hip implant products. The lawsuits have been brought by individuals who had Stryker hip implants used in procedures prior to the July 2012 recall of these defective medical devices. balance-875413-m.jpg

Our Boston defective hip implant lawyers know that the outcome of pending cases are important because they can shape future litigation. While each of the different lawsuits will be resolved on their own merits if the cases proceed, verdicts or decisions that favor the plaintiff could make the company more likely to offer generous settlements to injured victims who have lawsuits pending.

Because the current litigation can have an impact on all plaintiffs, it is important to keep up-to-date with what is going on with Stryker cases, especially multi-district and multi-county proceedings. Recently, in one such proceeding in New Jersey, the court issued a new case management order.

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TransVaginal Mesh Lawsuits Spike as Statute of Limitation Nears

Those who have been negatively affected by the insertion of vaginal mesh to treat urinary incontinence and pelvic discomfort may have only a short time left to file a claim for compensation.
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Our transvaginal mesh attorneys understand that victims in these cases may have a two-year window from the time they learned of widespread problems in which to file suit. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration had issued a warning on July 13, 2011, indicating that the mesh was often ineffective, but exposed patients to greater health risks and that surgery complications were widespread.

An earlier warning from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in 2008 had downplayed the issues patients suffered and indicated that problems with the mesh material were rare. The agency may have been reluctant because the product has been so widely used since the 1990s, and had been touted as an advancement in medical treatment.

Today, we know that is clearly not the case. The FDA discovered that in about 1 out of every 10 women who had the transvaginal mesh inserted for purposes of pelvic repair had some degree of erosion within just one year of the implant. Other common complications noted from the devices were intense pain, bleeding, infection, organ perforation, urinary problems and painful sexual intercourse. Additionally, some patients reported experiencing vaginal scarring and shrinking, neuro-muscular problems and recurrent prolapse. Many of these woman also suffered deep emotional effects as well.

Several of the medical device companies targeted by this litigation are based in Boston, including Boston Scientific Corp. Since that 2011 warning from the FDA, Boston Scientific has been named as a defendant in some 6,300 lawsuits pertaining to transvaginal mesh.

More than half of those cases were filed this year. Some 1,600 of those were filed just in May and June of this year.

In all, it's believed about 16,000 lawsuits have been filed on behalf of transvaginal mesh patients and their surviving family members. That's quite a bit more than anyone initially expected, though it just goes to show how widespread the troubles have been.

Boston Scientific has held firm in its stance that transvaginal mesh products continue to be an "important treatment option" for women troubled by pelvic organ prolapse.

Many of the cases filed in federal court have been lumped into a multidistrict litigation action that is being handled in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of West Virginia. The first of those cases is expected to proceed to trial by the end of this year. The next is on the docket for next spring.

These lawsuits allege that manufacturers failed in their duty to provide an adequate warning regarding the risks associated with these medical products.

Attorneys across the country will be closely watching how these cases unfold. They have been coined "bellweather cases," in that they will give both plaintiffs and defendants a clearer sense of how juries are going to weigh these issues.

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Johnson & Johnson Tries to Block Experts in DePuy Hip Implant Cases

DePuy hip implant devices are one of several brands of metal-on-metal hip implants that have proved to be dangerous to patients. DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, is currently defending itself against a number of lawsuits from patients harmed by their defective hip replacement and hip implant products. Recently, Harris Martin reported that the company asked the court in one of those cases to prevent two experts from testifying. 1207444_courtroom_1.jpg

Our Boston DePuy injury attorneys know that DePuy lost a past case when an injured plaintiff was awarded $8.3 million in damages. The company is likely trying to prevent future large verdicts. The motion to the court to keep these two experts from testifying in the case is just another attempt to escape liability for the defective metal-on-metal devices.

DePuy Orthopaedics Seeks to Block Expert Testimony

The case against DePuy Orthopaedics is a product liability case and the plaintiffs have the burden of showing that the metal-on-metal hip implant products were dangerous and failed to live up to the promises made by the manufacturer. The plaintiffs do not need to demonstrate that DePuy Orthopaedics was negligent in not producing a safer product since strict liability rules apply. Experts have testified in past cases that the problems with DePuy's products were well-known before the medical devices even came onto the market.

One of the two expert witnesses, a professor of biomedical engineering and surgery at McGill University, testified at a previous DePuy trial that the rate of adverse events associated with the metal-on-metal hip implants produced by DePuy should have caused alarm and raised "red flags" as far back as 2003. This was before the DePuy hip implants were even released on the market. The other expert criticized DePuy's effect analysis and the company's failure mode.

DePuy is likely seeking to prevent these two expert witnesses from testifying because it believes that the evidence presented significantly damages the defense case. DePuy is trying to prevent the testimony from being presented during a multi-district litigation and submitted supporting briefs barring the testimony on June 14, 2013.

The judge will now need to make a decision on whether these experts should be permitted to testify in the upcoming bellwether trial in September. If the judge permits the experts to testify, then it is likely that the information presented will once again be damaging to DePuy Orthopaedic's case. Both DePuy Orthopaedics and the plaintiffs who wish to present testimony from the experts will have a chance to make arguments to the judge about whether the testimony should be allowed.

Determining what evidence is or is not admissible in a case against a drug manufacturer can be a complex and technical process. Responding to actions such as this one is just one of the many tasks that attorneys will do to help victims of defective metal-on-metal hip implants to get the justice they deserve.

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Transvaginal Mesh Supplier May Have Used Plastic Not Suitable For Human Implantation

For women suffering from pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence, transvaginal mesh manufacturers promised surgical solutions that would help to correct their health issues. Unfortunately, transvaginal mesh or TVM turned out to be a very dangerous product that caused a number of complications including significant pain; recurrent prolapse and breakdown of the mesh in the body. 1420892_plastic_model_parts_in_frame.jpg

Since transvaginal mesh not only failed to perform as promised but also caused harm, many patients have taken action against TVM manufacturers. In one lawsuit against a TVM manufacturer, plaintiffs are alleging that the manufacturer knowingly used a plastic that was not safe for use in people. Our Boston transvaginal mesh lawyers know that TVM from all manufacturers has generally proved to be dangerous. However, this new evidence indicates that at least one manufacturer may have gone beyond simply failing to disclose risks and instead intentionally acted in a way likely to cause harm.

Emails Show Transvaginal Mesh Manufacturers Intentionally Put Patients at Risk

According to a June 26 Bloomberg news article, CR Bard may have knowingly sold vaginal mesh devices that were made of a plastic material manufacturers had warned was not suitable for implantation in humans.

The plastic was made by a Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. unit and was resin-based. Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. had registered a warning that the mesh should not be permanently implanted in people and after this warning was issued, managers at Bard's Davol unit knowingly used the plastic in mesh units intended for the treatment of hernias. Now, plaintiffs in a transvaginal mesh claim contend that this same unsafe mesh was also used not just in hernia products but in transvaginal mesh products as well.

Evidence indicates that CR Bard Inc. acted intentionally to use this unsafe plastic, rather than just simply using it by mistake. For example, two emails were sent in 2004 and in 2007 by Davol executives warning colleagues not to tell Chevron Phillips or other manufacturers of the resin-plastic that the plastics were being used in medical devices that were placed in people.

One of the e-mails sent by a top Bard executive, who is now a vice president at the company, expressly cautioned that Chevron Phillips would probably "not be interested in a medical application due to product liability concerns." The same email indicated that Davol shouldn't be mentioned to any of the manufacturers because the manufacturers likely were unaware of C.R. Bard's implant applications.

These emails are extremely incriminating because they can be used to demonstrate that top executives in the company knowingly made the decision to use a plastic that was proven unsafe, despite an awareness that people could get hurt.

It is not unreasonable to believe that the same plastic was used not just in mesh used to treat hernia injuries but also in patients undergoing surgical procedures with transvaginal mesh. Plaintiffs in TVM cases may thus be able to use the emails to strengthen their claim against the medical device company, by presenting the emails as proof that Bard intentionally took dangerous risks with patient health.

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More Trouble at Compounding Pharmacies Highlights Risks to Patients

Just a few short months ago, many people had never heard of a compounding pharmacy. Now, however, compounding pharmacies have been in the news many times in recent months, starting with headlines about a devastating outbreak of fungal infections allegedly caused by the New England Compounding Pharmacy (NECC). 1396654_alchemic_vials_2.jpg

Infections and issues related to compounding pharmacies have prompted discussions of changing regulatory laws and created nationwide concern as people throughout the United States were diagnosed with meningitis due to the NECC's contaminated steroid medications. Unfortunately, our Boston injury attorneys know that the NECC case was not an isolated incident and that many compounding pharmacies are simply not producing drugs that are as safe as they should be. A recent incident involving a Tennessee compounding pharmacy has confirmed this and underscored the fact that compounding pharmacies can cause serious public health problems.

More Trouble at Compounding Pharmacies

According to Fox News, health officials are now investigating cases involving patients who were injected with medicines from a Tennessee compounding pharmacy called Main Street Family Pharmacy.

Main Street Family Pharmacy was creating injections with methylprednisolone acetate, which is the same drug that was produced by NECC and that caused the fungal infection throughout the entire United States. More than 55 people died and 740 more were injured by the fungal infection caused by NECC and this made patients and public health officials very nervous when news broke that a Tennessee pharmacy had sent out the same drug that was also contaminated.

As of now, however, authorities indicate that the current situation does not approach the level of severity of the fungal infections and meningitis outbreak prompted by NECC in 2012. However authorities also caution that it is still early and that investigation is still ongoing, which means that things could turn out to be much worse.

So far, seven cases of potential infection have been identified and traced back to drugs from the Main Street Family Pharmacy. Five of those cases are in Illinois and two more are in North Carolina. All five of the patients in Illinois had skin infections in the buttocks and hips. At least one of the North Carolina patients, on the other hand, is reported as having some type of fungal infection. However, a health-care epidemiologist leading the CDC investigation into the incidents reports that there is no current indication that the patient has meningitis or any other life threatening conditions.

As the CDC and other investigations continue into these infections, hopefully no more reports will surface of people developing complications or infections as a result of the injection of drugs from the Main Street Family Pharmacy.

In the meantime, until the investigations are concluded and cases resolved, the FDA has recommended that doctors stop using any sterile drugs distributed by Main Street Family Pharmacy. Main Street Family Pharmacy has indicated that it supports the FDA"s recommendation because in its 15 years of operation, "patient safety has always been and will always be," their top priority. Unfortunately, it seems as if the company may not have lived up to its obligations and may have let patients down.

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Food Poisoning Lawsuits: Infections from Foodborne Germs Increase

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infections from certain foodborne germs increased in 2012 as compared with prior years, with some infections occurring at the highest levels since 2000. While new standards aim to make food safer, some restaurants and food distributors are still not doing enough to protect the public from dangers of foodborne illness. 1422473_grilled_sausage_patties.jpg

Our Boston injury attorneys know that foodborne germs can lead to devastating illness and even death. If you are made sick as a result of contaminated food sold in your supermarket or served to you in a restaurant, you may have a claim for damages. You will need to prove that someone was to blame and that the dangerous product or the negligence of the manufacturer, distributor, store or restaurant was the direct cause of your foodborne illness.

Foodborne Illness and Food Poisoning Lawsuits

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infections from two germs that are commonly spread through food have significantly increased in 2012 when compared with the baseline period from 2006 to 2008. The two germs that have caused higher rates of infection include:

  • Campylobacter, which can be found in raw milk, produce and poultry. Infections from this germ have increased 14 percent in 2012 as compared with 2006-2008 and infections are at their highest level since 2000.
  • Vibrio, which is commonly linked to eating raw or undercooked shellfish. Infections from this germ are up 43 percent as compared with rates observed from 2006 to 2008.

Campylobacter infections can cause stomach pain, diarrhea and fever. The infections normally resolve themselves in around a week, but this is not always the case. Vibrio, on the other hand, is more rare but can cause more serious and potentially life threatening infections. Those who develop this infection who have liver disease are at the greatest risk.

Liability for Foodborne Illness

Efforts are continually underway to try to prevent foodborne illness from occurring and to try to minimize the dangers that people are exposed to in their food products. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) both have certain requirements that must be followed as well as best practices that are advised. In 2011, FSIS updated its industry performance standards for both campylobacter and salmonella to reduce the presence of these germs in turkeys and chickens.

Manufacturers are expected to comply with guidelines, and restaurants and stores that serve food must also comply with local Board of Health requirements. Typically, people get sick only whens something goes wrong somewhere along the way and someone doesn't comply with the regulations. When this occurs, you may be able to sue if you were made ill due to foodborne bacteria or germs. For example, you could potentially sue:

  • A food manufacturer or distributor that produced contaminated products.
  • A grocery store that sold you tainted or contaminated food.
  • A restaurant that served you undercooked or dangerous food that caused you to develop food poisoning.

The key in these lawsuits will be showing that the manufacturer; grocery store; distributor or other defendant did something wrong or careless or breached some legal safety obligation. Provided you can show that something went wrong, you should be entitled to receive monetary compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages and other losses.

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Understanding the Impact of Mixed DePuy Trial Results

DePuy metal-on-metal hip replacement products have proved to have a very high failure rate and are causing significant complications for patients. Unfortunately, thousands of patients are suffering from problems due to DePuy's hip replacement devices and are now suing its parent company, Johnson and Johnson, in order to try to recover compensation. 1002813_x-ray_image_of_the_leg.jpg

Our Boston defective hip attorneys know that DePuy may end up settling many cases with plaintiffs in order to resolve multiple claims at once. However, DePuy will settle cases only if the company accepts responsibility for the defective hip replacement products and if some determination can be made about how much each case should be worth. As such, the outcome of "bellwether" trials will play a major role in how cases against DePuy proceed.

Bellwether Trials Produce Mixed Results

Bellwether trials are the first legal actions that are being heard in court related to defective DePuy hip replacement products. The cases go before the court and a jury renders a verdict as to whether DePuy is responsible for causing harm and how much DePuy has to pay for the harm.

The outcome of these trials can shape how the company handles future litigation. If it becomes clear that DePuy is being held responsible in multiple trials, then this is an indicator that legal liability is clear and that DePuy will be blamed in most pending cases against it. As a result, DePuy may be more likely to negotiate a reasonable settlement with plaintiffs whose cases are outstanding. The compensation awarded to the victims in the bellwether trial can serve as a guide to help make clear how much cases should be worth.

Unfortunately, the two DePuy bellwether trials that have occurred so far have not produced any clear guides for how things should proceed going forward. This is because the results have been mixed.

In a Los Angeles trial, DePuy was held legally liable by the jury for an estimated $8.3 million in damages to a former prison guard who experienced pain and suffering due to design flaws in the DePuy ASR hip replacement system. No punitive damages were awarded, but the case still resulted in the plaintiff receiving a substantial monetary award. This boded well for others who had DePuy products implanted and who were experiencing complications.

In a second bellwether trial, however, a jury in Chicago rejected the claim of a plaintiff who said she had experienced complications as a result of a DePuy hip replacement system. The jury found that DePuy had not acted improperly in marketing the device and that the plaintiff was not entitled to damages.

The varied outcomes mean that DePuy is unlikely to definitively act in offering reasonably generous settlements to injured plaintiffs, at least not until there is a clear trend showing that DePuy trials will generally end in favor of injured patients damaged by the DePuy hip replacement systems.

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Boston Scientific Transvaginal Mesh Products Endanger Patients

When transvaginal mesh products came on the market, manufacturers sold the products as a cure or treatment for pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. The hope was that the mesh products would make correcting these medical problems easier. Unfortunately, the products haven't lived up to the promises made by manufacturers. In fact, transvaginal mesh products turned out to be very dangerous and to create many unpleasant side affects. 565751_a_babys_coming.jpg

Our Boston transvaginal mesh lawyers know that many different manufacturers produced transvaginal mesh products that have been causing harm to patients. One such manufacturer is Boston Scientific. Boston Scientific had its first transvaginal mesh product approved in 1996 and has numerous products on the market, many of which are causing problems and leading to lawsuits.

The Boston Scientific Transvaginal Mesh Products

While a lot of attention is given to transvaginal mesh products by big name manufacturers such as Johnson & Johnson, Boston Scientific too is being sued by many patients and played an important role in bringing the dangerous mesh products to widespread use within the U.S. market. In fact, it was a Boston Scientific product that paved the way for other transvaginal mesh devices to be sold.

Boston Scientific's first transvaginal mesh product approved in 1996 was called Protegen. Protegen was intended as a treatment for stress urinary incontinence, which is a condition wherein the weakening of the bladder muscles make it difficult for a woman to control her urination.

Prior to the release of Boston Scientific's transvaginal mesh product, stress urinary incontinence was treated by using sutures to lift sagging organs. No implants or mesh products were used. Protegen changed that and doctors began to adopt the use of the Protegen product because of a belief that it would provide additional support and allow for better outcomes for patients.

Boston Scientific subsequently followed up its original release of Protegen with other bladder sling and pelvic mesh products including the:


  • Prefyx PPS Pelvic Sling System.

  • Soloynx SIS Vaginal Sling System.

  • Lynx Suprapublic Mid-Urethra Sling

  • Advantage Fit Transvaginal Mid-Urethral Sling System.

  • Pinacle Pelvic Floor Repair Kit.

Unfortunately, problems soon began to develop. In 2003, Boston Scientific was sued based on complications and side effects developing as a result of Protegen. Boston Scientific decided to settle 738 of the lawsuits arising from Protegen problems.

Even after settling, however, Boston Scientific did not pull all of is transvaginal mesh products nor was much additional investigation done into whether TVM products were safe for use. Instead, not only did Boston Scientific keep right on enticing patients to use Transvaginal Mesh but also other manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon and started selling mesh products of their own.

Many of the manufacturers who came out with transvaginal mesh products did so with minimal testing of their own medical devices. The manufacturers got away with this because the FDA has an expedited approval process called 501(k) clearance that allows a product to be released without the normal rigorous clinical testing that is usually required.

Products can be released using 501(k) clearances provided that there is an existing product that is substantially similar. The Boston Scientific product, Protegen, was the product that was used by the manufacturers seeking 501(K) clearance. It was the basis, therefore, of the approval of a class of TVM products that have caused untold harm to patients worldwide.

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