ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING HOLDS MEDICAL DEVICE MANUFACTURER BOSTON SCIENTIFIC CORPORATION ACCOUNTABLE FOR DECEIVING CONSUMERS

~ Herring secures settlement with Boston over deceptive marketing of its surgical mesh products; Virginia will receive more than $3.7 million as its part of the settlement ~

RICHMOND (March 23, 2021) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today announced a multistate settlement with Boston Scientific Corporation (Boston) to resolve allegations of deceptive marketing of its surgical mesh products for women. The settlement requires Boston to pay $188.6 million to 47 states and the District of Columbia to resolve allegations that it deceptively marketed transvaginal surgical mesh devices to patients. Virginia will receive $3,734,173 as its share of the settlement.
 
“Deceptive or false marketing of any kind of product will not be tolerated in Virginia, but especially when those products are medical devices that could negatively impact a patient’s health,” said Attorney General Herring. “As attorney general, my top priority is always to protect Virginians and I want to make sure that both doctors and patients can always feel confident that they are making the best, most informed decisions about their health.”
 
Surgical mesh is a synthetic woven fabric that is implanted in the pelvic floor through the vagina to treat common health conditions in women such as stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. These are common conditions faced by women due to a weakening in their pelvic floor muscles caused by childbirth, age, or other factors. Although use of surgical mesh involves the risk of serious complications and is not proven to be any more effective than traditional tissue repair, millions of women were implanted with the devices and thousands of women are alleged to have suffered serious complications resulting from these devices.
 
Attorney General Herring and his colleagues allege that Boston misrepresented the safety of these products by failing to disclose the full range of potential serious and irreversible complications caused by mesh, including chronic pain, voiding dysfunction, and new onset of incontinence.
 
The settlement provides comprehensive injunctive relief. Under the terms of the settlement, Boston is required to:
 
Marketing Reforms:
  • For marketing materials intended for consumers, describe complications in understandable terms;
  • For certain marketing materials, disclose significant complications, including the inherent risks of mesh;
  • Refrain from representing that any inherent risks of mesh are risks common to any pelvic floor or other surgery not involving mesh;
  • Refrain from representing that inherent mesh complications can be eliminated with surgical experience or technique;
  • Refrain from representing that surgical mesh does not cause a foreign body reaction;
  • Refrain from representing that surgical mesh remains soft, supple, or pliable after mesh is implanted inside the body;
  • Refrain from representing that surgical mesh does not potentiate infection or does not increase the likelihood of infection;
  • Refrain from representing that surgical mesh repair is superior to native tissue repair unless such representations are supported by valid scientific evidence;
 
Training Reforms:
  • Inform healthcare providers of significant complications when providing training regarding procedures for insertion and implantation;
  • Maintain policies requiring that its independent contractors, agents, and employees who sell, market, or promote mesh are adequately trained to report patient complaints and adverse events to the company; 
 
Clinical Trial Reforms:
  • When submitting a clinical study or clinical data regarding mesh for publication, disclose the company’s role as a sponsor and any author’s potential conflict of interest;
  • Refrain from citing any clinical study, clinical data, preclinical data, research, or article regarding mesh for which the company has not complied with the disclosure requirements in the injunction;
  • Include a sponsorship disclosure provision requiring consultants to contractually agree to disclose in any public presentation or submission for publication any sponsorships by Boston related to the contracted-for activity; 
  • Register all Boston-sponsored clinical studies regarding mesh with ClinicalTrials.gov.
 
Attorney General Herring has reached two similar settlements resolving allegations of deceptive marketing and promotion for transvaginal surgical mesh devices, one with Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon, Inc. and one with C.R. Bard, Inc.
 
During Attorney General Herring's administration, his Consumer Protection Section has recovered approximately $359 million in relief for consumers and payments from visitors.
 
Joining Attorney General Herring in this settlement are the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.
 
A copy of the complaint is here and the consent judgment submitted for court approval is here.

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