A group of about 325 Canadian women who suffered ill-effects from implantation of transvaginal mesh will receive $21.5 million in compensation under a proposed class-action settlement. (Pikrepo photo)

Women with transvaginal mesh implants to share $21.5 million in settlement

Implants used to treat stress urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse caused ill-effects

A group of Canadian women who suffered ill-effects from implantation of a medical device called transvaginal mesh will receive a total of $21.5 million in compensation under a proposed class-action settlement, court records show.

The settlement, between the women and Boston Scientific, involves about 325 women who received the implants. Their share of the money would depend on the severity of their medical issues.

In approving the class definition and method for reaching out to class members, Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Perell noted the settlement is similar to another recently approved class action involving the mesh. Final approval of the current action is expected in June.

The net-like implants are used to treat conditions such as stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse. The implants are designed to reinforce a weak vaginal wall or support the urethra or bladder neck. The polypropylene mesh is widely used. However, many recipients have had an array of serious side effects.

ALSO READ: Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Boston Scientific is the Canadian subsidiary of its Delaware-based parent and is the sole distributor of the company’s transvaginal mesh devices in Canada. The product has been implanted in thousands of Canadian women.

The lead plaintiff in the class action, Susan Vester, suffered painful complications from her implant. Court documents show she was given the device in January 2010 as a way to prevent incontinence — an operation about 25,000 women a year have in Canada.

Among other complications, Vester said she suffered urinary problems, difficulty walking, emotional stress and pain during sexual intercourse. She argued she was unaware of the risks before the surgery and would have refused the procedure had she known.

Vester and her husband sued Boston Scientific, alleging the devices were defective and unsafe. Among other things, they argued the mesh was negligently designed and sold, and that recipients had required intensive surgical interventions to try to alleviate the side-effects.

ALSO READ: Federal Government invests $10 million towards cervical cancer research

The company maintained her complaints were the result of pre-existing medical conditions, not the mesh. It denied the product caused the problems about which the women complained.

After initially refusing to do so in 2015, Perell certified the lawsuit as a class action in February 2017.

“There is some basis in fact that the polypropylene mesh in each of Boston Scientific’s transvaginal devices has a clinically significant deficiency,” Perell wrote at the time. “Boston Scientific’s arguments based on an alleged multiplicity of differences between the products, patients, and the complications, do not negate the commonality of the proposed common issues.”

The settlement also applies to about 20 or so women who’ve had the implants since the action was certified, and they have 60 days to opt out. Boston stopped selling the devices for treating pelvic organ prolapse last July.

Daniel Bach, the Vesters’ lawyer, said his clients were happy with the settlement, in which Boston Scientific admits no liability.

“This agreement will enable members of the class to receive compensation for the injuries they allege,” Bach said.

In an earnings call last month, the U.S. company’s chief financial officer said Boston was working to resolve litigation over the mesh. More than 95 per cent of known claims were settled or were in the final stages of settlement, Dan Brennan said. He said the company expected to pay US$115 million into settlement funds this year.

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

class-action lawsuit

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The IIO has concluded its investigation into police's actions in a West Kelowna man's death. (File Photo)
UPDATE: One dead after Highway 97A crash near Armstrong, police watchdog investigating

The crash happened as RCMP attempted to stop an alleged stolen vehicle

BC NDP candidate Harwinder Sandhu offered praise to her team of volunteers (pictured Oct. 21), following a too-close race with BC Liberal and incumbent Eric Foster in the 2020 provincial election Oct. 24. The outcome will be dependent on the final count from mail-in ballots expected in three weeks. (Facebook)
‘Every vote counts’ in tight Vernon-Monashee race: NDP Harwinder Sandhu

Incumbent BC Liberal Eric Foster finishes election night with slim lead

NDP candidate Harwinder Sandhu, right, and incumbent Liberal Eric Foster went head-to-head in a tight race for the Vernon-Monashee seat in the Legislature. By the night’s end Oct. 24, the results were too close to call and the final count will be dependant on outstanding mail-in ballots. (Contributed)
Too close to call in Vernon-Monashee race

Incumbent Foster holds slim lead over NDP Sandhu, mail-in ballots still to come

Advance polling saw nearly 10,000 votes cast in Vernon-Monashee. Pictured: Schubert Centre. (Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star)
BC VOTES 2020: Live results roll in for Vernon-Monashee race

That’s a wrap on voting in the provincial 2020 election

BC Liberal Party Shuswap candidate Greg Kyllo and wife Georgina celebrate another successful campaign, with preliminary results for the 42nd provincial general election showing Greg winning the riding with a comfortable majority. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer)
Shuswap’s Greg Kyllo faces third term and BC NDP majority

BC NDP candidate Sylvia Lindgren celebrates party’s success

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Kelowna Secondary School. (SD23 photo)
One case of COVID-19 identified at Kelowna Secondary School

Interior Health will follow up directly with those who may have been exposed to the virus

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read