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Boston Scientific ordered to pay $100 million in transvaginal mesh trial


(Reuters) — A Delaware jury on Thursday ordered Boston Scientific to pay $100 million to a woman who said she was injured by transvaginal mesh, a device that is the subject of more than 25,000 lawsuits against the company.

Jurors awarded Deborah Barba $25 million in compensatory damages, and an additional $75 million in punitive damages, according to lawyers for Ms. Barba.

The 51-year old Newark, Delaware-resident was implanted with Boston Scientific’s Pinnacle and Advantage Fit mesh products in 2009, to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence, according to her 2011 lawsuit. The devices caused serious complications, she said, and despite two subsequent surgeries to try to fix the problems, parts of the devices are still in her body, continuing to cause pain.

Following a two-week trial, jurors deliberated for about seven hours before finding Boston Scientific had been negligent in designing and making the devices and that it had failed to warn patients and doctors about potential risks.

Fidelma Fitzpatrick, one of Ms. Barba’s lawyers, said Thursday that mesh complications had “profoundly changed” Ms. Barba’s life, and that she hoped the size of the verdict would persuade Boston Scientific and other mesh makers to settle the remaining cases.

Thursday’s verdict is the largest one yet in litigation over transvaginal mesh devices against Marlborough, Massachusetts-based Boston Scientific or any other mesh manufacturer. The company announced last month it had reached agreements to pay about $119 million to resolve 2,970 cases about transvaginal mesh.

The verdict is the sixth so far against the company by women who say that the devices are poorly designed and use subpar materials, resulting in painful physical injuries such as bleeding, infection and pain during sex. Boston Scientific has denied that the products are defective or that it failed to warn about potential complications.

Last year, Boston Scientific won the first two trials against it, before losing three in a row, including a $73.4 million verdict for a woman in Texas, which was later reduced to $34 million, and back-to-back trials involving groups of four women in West Virginia and Florida.

Boston Scientific did not immediately return requests for comment.

Boston Scientific is among seven manufacturers that collectively face an estimated 100,000 lawsuits over transvaginal mesh devices in U.S. federal and state courts. Other major defendants include Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit, and C.R. Bard.