Endo International PLC has announced new agreements to settle “virtually all known” U.S. transvaginal mesh lawsuits involving devices manufactured by its American Medical Systems unit.
In a statement issued yesterday, the company disclosed that it would reserve another $775 million to resolve the remaining U.S. claims. With the additional reserves, Endo will have now set aside more than $2.6 billion to cover costs associated with transvaginal mesh settlements.
“While it remains possible that additional claims will be filed, we believe today’s announcement will assist most mesh claimants to move forward with their lives and will permit Endo to move forward with an even greater focus on executing against our core strategic priorities,” said Paul Campanelli, Endo’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
Under the new agreements, Endo will begin making installment payments in the fourth quarter of 2017. The installments will continue through the fourth quarter of 2019.
Roughly 22,000 transvaginal mesh lawsuits remain pending in the American Medical Systems litigation, all of which were filed on behalf of women who allegedly suffered serious complications after the devices eroded into their vaginal wall. The majority of claims are pending in a federal multidistrict litigation now underway in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia.
Transvaginal mesh products were once widely-used to treat women suffering from pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. However, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has issued several public health alerts since 2008 detailing life-changing complications potentially associated with the implants, including mesh erosion, chronic pain, organ perforation, incontinence, scarring and adhesions, chronic infections, and more.
In 2011, the FDA reversed its previous position regarding the frequency of transvaginal mesh complications in pelvic organ prolapse repair, stating it no longer considered these adverse events to be rare. The agency also expressed doubt that such procedures offered any additional benefits compared to traditional non-mesh prolapse repair.
Last year, the FDA finalized new regulations that, among other things, reclassified transvaginal mesh intended for use in prolapse repair as a high-risk medical device. The new rules also made the implants ineligible for the agency’s 510(k) clearance program, which had previously allowed such products to come to market without first undergoing human clinical trial.
While it appears that most cases involving American Medical Systems will soon be resolved, the litigation surrounding transvaginal mesh is far from over. Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon, Inc. subsidiary still face roughly 55,000 pelvic mesh claims now pending in state and federal courts around the country.
Other device makers involved in the massive transvaginal mesh litigation include Boston Scientific Corp., C.R. Bard, Inc., Coloplast Corp., Cook Medical, Inc. and Neomedic.
Ethicon and the other defendants have settled some pelvic mesh lawsuits, but thousands of cases remain pending.