Shine Lawyers has secured yet another win for Australian women whose lives were altered by defective pelvic mesh implants, today reaching a $150 million settlement with US manufacturer Boston Scientific.
The settlement concludes a legal stoush between Boston Scientific and Shine - a subsidiary of ASX-listed Shine Justice (ASX: SHJ) - which filed the class action on behalf of potentially thousands of Australian women back in March 2021.
At the time, Shine was seeking damages on behalf of women who had received one or more pelvic mesh or sling implants manufactured by Boston Scientific, and alleged negligence and that the implants were defective and not of acceptable quality.
The US-based company is the third pelvic mesh manufacturer to face a class action in Australia over its range of prolapse mesh and incontinence sling implants, but is the first to settle proceedings. Shine’s two other actions against Johnson & Johnson and Astora Women’s Health are ongoing.
While the settlement agreement does not equate to any admission of misconduct or liability by Boston Scientific - which continues to deny the allegations levelled at it by Shine - the firm’s class actions practice leader Rebecca Jancauskas has welcomed the development.
“Some women implanted with a vaginal mesh or sling to treat prolapse and incontinence issues experienced significant complications,” Jancauskas said.
“This settlement agreement will provide these women compensation that may be used to support their future treatment needs.”
This class action includes any person who was implanted with one or more of the mesh and sling implants listed below in Australia between 2005 and 1 June 2022:
- Pinnacle™ Pelvic Floor Repair Kit;
- Pinnacle™ Lite Posterior;
- Uphold™ Vaginal Support System;
- Uphold™ LITE Vaginal Support System;
- Upsylon™ Y-Mesh;
- Advantage™ Transvaginal Mid-Urethral Sling System;
- Advantage Fit™ Transvaginal Mid-Urethral Sling System;
- Obtryx™ Transobturator Sling System;
- Obtryx™ II Transobturator Mid-Urethral Sling System;
- Lynx™ Suprapubic Mid-Urethral Sling System;
- Solyx™ Single-Incision Sling System; and/or
The class actions against the mesh manufacturers arose after different mesh products were being recalled from the market from 2017 and into 2018 and 2019, including three of the Boston Scientific’s own.
In early 2018, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) ordered Boston Scientific to add warnings about possible adverse side effects such as severe chronic pain, groin pain and bladder perforation.
Later that year, a Senate inquiry concluded surgery with mesh, which it estimated had been performed on about 150,000 women in Australia, should be a last resort.
Shine’s first pelvic mesh class action was brought against Johnson & Johnson and two subsidiaries including Ethicon in 2019 which was ultimately successful in the Federal Court. That matter was appealed by the medical device manufacturer and subsequently dismissed in favour of Shine’s case.
A few months later, the High Court also dismissed Johnson & Johnson’s application for special leave to appeal.
According to Jancauskas however, despite Shine’s victory in the High Court, Johnson & Johnson appears to be drawing out the remediation process.
“Unfortunately for these women, there is no such thing as complete closure until these group members receive their individual compensation, which may take years as Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson intend to challenge and review each group member’s claim for compensation,” said Jancauskas in November 2021.
“Sadly, the gut-wrenching wait is not over. There are still some hurdles to overcome as each woman will individually have her case considered from here.
“There are over 11,000 Australian women who are now entitled to bring individual claims for compensation and they may be fighting Johnson & Johnson for their compensation for many years to come.”
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