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Transvaginal mesh manufacturer Endo International PLC has agreed to pay approximately $830 million to settle around 20,000 lawsuits stemming from its vaginal-mesh implants.
The proposed settlement would not end all mesh claims against Endo. The Dublin, Ireland-based company still faces more than 23,000 claims not covered by the settlement, reports Bloomberg Businessweek.
What does this Endo settlement mean for future transvaginal mesh cases?
TVM Settlements On the Rise
Transvaginal mesh was a popular treatment for pelvic organ prolapse, a condition in which organs like the bladder can slip through the pelvic wall and into the vagina. Businessweek reports that more than 70,000 of these mesh implants were inserted by doctors in 2010.
After reports that these devices caused organ damage and pain during sex, product-defect lawsuits against makers of transvaginal mesh began piling up. Endo has yet to go to trial over its transvaginal mesh, and this recent settlement will significantly decrease its exposure in court. Coincidentally, the FDA also recently announced that these vaginal mesh devices may need to be regulated as "high-risk."
Carl Tobias, a professor at University of Richmond in Virginia, told Businessweek that "settlement is looking more attractive to [vaginal-mesh device makers]." With Endo moving to settle a chunk of its claims, and with million-dollar verdicts going to plaintiffs, settlement may be the new trend.
What Does the Proposed Settlement Cover?
Like most settlements, Endo seeks to exchange a cash sum for release of liability for claims over the company's vaginal mesh inserts. The settlement will also need to be approved by a judge.
However, the settlement does not bar women from seeking more in damages if they suffered "severe injuries" or had been forced to "undergo multiple surgeries" as a result of the transvaginal mesh implants, reports Businessweek. It isn't uncommon to separate plaintiffs by the severity of their injuries in a settlement; the NFL tried something very similar with ex-players who allegedly suffered concussions.
The Endo settlement may also involve some form of non-disclosure agreement with respect to Endo and its products, and plaintiffs' families may want to pay close attention to what they say after settling.
This isn't the end for Endo's transvaginal litigation woes. Businessweek reports it has looming pretrial proceedings for a vaginal-mesh case in West Virginia.