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First Conference Held for Coloplast Vaginal Sling Litigation in Federal MDL

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The first meeting will be held today between lawyers involved in federal Coloplast vaginal sling lawsuits and the U.S. District Judge appointed last month to preside over a multidistrict litigation (MDL) established for the cases.

On August 6, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation established an MDL for the Coloplast vaginal sling litigation, consolidating cases throughout the United States that have been brought by women who allege they experienced severe injuries and complications due to transvaginal mesh products manufactured and sold by Coloplast Corp.

U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin was appointed to preside over the consolidated pretrial proceedings out of the Southern District of West Virginia, where four other vaginal mesh MDLs are already centralized before Judge Goodwin, including Bard Avaulta lawsuits, AMS mesh lawsuits, Boston Scientific mesh lawsuits and Ethicon/Gynecare mesh lawsuits.

According to the first Pretrial Order issued by Judge Goodwin in the Coloplast MDL on August 20, an initial conference was scheduled for September 13, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. It is expected that the Court will discuss the organization and structure of the new MDL with the Coloplast mesh lawyers involved in cases filed to date, as well has how this MDL will be coordinated with previously established MDLs involving transvaginal mesh products made by other other manufacturers.

All of the cases involve similar allegations that dangerous and defective vaginal sling and bladder mesh products were sold for transvaginal repair of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and female stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Plaintiffs allege that the products were not adequately researched and tested, and that proper warnings were not provided about the risk of painful and debilitating complications from the vaginal mesh products, such as pelvic pain, infection and erosion of the mesh through the vagina.

In July 2011, the FDA issued a warning after receiving at least 2,874 reports of transvaginal mesh problems between January 2008 and December 2010.  After a review of all available data, the FDA concluded that there was no evidence that vaginal mesh provides any additional benefits when compared to more traditional surgery for treatment of pelvic organ prolapse.

Earlier this year, the FDA sent a letter to several manufacturers of these products, ordering that they conduct additional studies and trials to evaluate the safety of transvaginal mesh products, and establish whether they pose an unreasonable risk of injury for women.

A sixth transvaginal mesh MDL, which was established in 2004 for lawsuits over the Mentor ObTape, is centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.  However, most of those cases have already settled or resolved.

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