A Rhode Island jury heard closing arguments in the first state court trial involving allegedly faulty hernia mesh implants.
The trial, which started in late July, centers on allegations that the defendant, Davol Inc., a unit of CR Bard, utilized polypropylene resin in its Ventralex-brand hernia mesh implant even though it knew the substance may harm human tissue.
In the hernia mesh lawsuits, the plaintiffs claim that the implants have plagued them with adverse effects ranging from nerve damage to chronic pain and infections. They also claim that manufacturers like Davol and Bard supplied the devices despite being aware of the risk they posed to patients.
The claims are denied by Davol and Bard, who maintain that other procedures and medical conditions are to blame for the plaintiff's alleged injuries and that hernia mesh helps many patients avoid difficulties.
The plaintiff's lawyer explained to the jury how the plaintiff got a hernia at the place where he had significant abdominal surgery in the early 1990s. A Ventralex patch was implanted by doctors in 2008, but it had to be removed a few years later because it reportedly caused damage that made the plaintiff need to have his bowels removed.
The Ventralex patch's outer ring has the potential to fold and contract, leading to internal damage that frequently necessitates additional surgery to have it removed, the plaintiff's attorney told the jury.
He implied that Bard was aware of the harm the patch posed to patients and that subsequent clinical data supports that assertion. He went on to say that this technology had caused serious injuries to 4,000 people in only the last three years. One in four, or 25%, of those who had this device implanted required additional surgery to have it removed.
The lawyer for Bard charged the plaintiff team with cherry-picking anecdotal Ventralex findings while ignoring the vast majority of people who take medicine without experiencing any negative side effects. It is still available right now. It was approved by the FDA. It's never been put away.
The defense lawyer contended that the plaintiff's allegation of failure to warn did not succeed because he purportedly got in-depth information regarding the potential risks of hernia surgery from his attending physicians.
He explained to the jury the plaintiff's complicated medical history, including the numerous surgeries required to repair his initial abdominal injury and subsequent hernias, and how those procedures caused the plaintiff's ailments rather than the Ventralex patch's placement.
Nineteen Illinois counties, including five of the six in the Chicago area, are suing some of the biggest drugstore chains in the country on the grounds that they failed to monitor and limit incorrect prescriptions, which they claim is what led to the opioid overdose problem.
The complaint, which was filed last week in Cook County, is the latest in a long line of opioid cases that state and municipal governments are pursuing against drug producers, distributors, and retailers. All Chicago-area counties, with the exception of Lake county, are plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
The counties claim that Walgreens, CVS, Kroger, Meijer, Albertsons, and Walmart pharmacies actively participated in the oversupply of such drugs and fueled an illegal secondary market by failing to design and operate systems to identify suspicious orders of prescription opioids, maintain effective controls against diversion, and stop suspicious orders when they were identified.
According to the lawsuit, several of the chains used performance indicators that allegedly pushed pharmacists to write prescriptions without verifying their validity.
A spokesperson for Walgreens in Deerfield stated throughout the entire process, Walgreens never produced, advertised, or provided opioids to the online pharmacies and pill mills that stoked the problem.
He further added that the company will keep fighting back against the unwarranted criticisms of its pharmacists' professionalism from plaintiffs' attorneys because they are devoted healthcare providers who live and work in the communities they serve.
Attorneys for certain pharmacy chains have claimed that the doctors who wrote the prescriptions, not the druggists who filled them, should be held accountable in related cases that are currently being heard elsewhere in the nation.
However, according to the counties' lawsuit, the pharmacies had access to enough information to view some physicians and patients with suspicion.
According to the allegations, the warning signs included patients who received multiple prescriptions from the same doctor, patients who received prescriptions from different doctors, orders with unusually high frequency and volume and orders with abnormally large cash payments.
The Illinois criminal justice system is reportedly losing $50 million a year as a result of the opioid crisis, according to the complaint, which does not demand specific damages.
The state's attorney for McHenry County, one of the plaintiffs, said that pharmacies, like drug producers and distributors, did nothing as an influx of opioid pills led to an increase in addiction and overdoses.
This week, before a federal judge in Indianapolis, the 3M Co.'s attempt to prevent jury trials of more than 230,000 cases accusing it of hurting US soldiers will be put to the test.
The majority of the claims have been made by veterans who allege the battle weaponry earplugs caused them hearing impairment, and a US bankruptcy judge is expected to consider putting a temporary stop to the cases so that 3M and its bankrupt company, Aearo Technologies, can try to resolve them.
The judge's ruling would be felt throughout the offices of other companies facing a flood of product liability cases, according to a Harvard Law School professor. The judge added that if 3M loses this case, it will probably raise red flags in other corporate boardrooms of businesses looking to take advantage of the bankruptcy system.
The Aearo case employs a technique that is becoming more and more common, whereby profitable businesses utilize insolvency proceedings to compel settlement negotiations with the people who claim their products were detrimental. Both Johnson & Johnson and lumber tycoon Georgia-Pacific have filed for bankruptcy in an effort to consolidate their legal troubles rather than pursue thousands of court cases throughout the nation.
Final court documents from the business and its detractors were due on Monday night. On Wednesday, a temporary stay to some of the litigation was issued by a federal judge in Florida. The bankrupt divisions of J&J and 3M have argued in court that it is difficult to fight each case in front of various jurors across the nation.
The company declared Aearo Technologies in Indianapolis insolvent on July 26. Aearo is automatically entitled to freeze the lawsuits it faces under Chapter 11 regulations, but a court must consent to grant the industrial conglomerate the same protection because 3M did not file for bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy can end years of legal disputes, and their costs, and restore the company's financial stability. In a bankruptcy, victims can still recover money from the corporation, but under different conditions that tend to reduce the likelihood of extremely large, multimillion-dollar judgments.
The troops who are suing 3M contend that Chapter 11 bankruptcy laws were never intended for successful businesses. 3M defended its strategy in the courtroom, asserting that bankruptcy would benefit both the plaintiffs and the business.
According to a recent RAND Corporation study, many uninsured Americans find it prohibitively expensive to purchase the opioid antidote naloxone, which presents a barrier to the treatment's ability to save more people who overdose on opioids.
While legislation that makes it simpler to prescribe and procure naloxone has expanded its use, the out-of-pocket cost of the prescription has increased significantly for those without insurance while reducing for many who do.
According to the survey, while out-of-pocket expenses for individuals without insurance grew by more than 500% between 2014 and 2018, they decreased on average by 26% for those with health insurance. Nearly one-third of opioid overdose deaths occur in uninsured Americans, who account for around 20% of adults with opioid use disorders.
The cost of naloxone is almost probably preventing its more widespread use among the uninsured, according to the study's lead author, an economist at the nonprofit research organization RAND. The out-of-pocket expenses need to be given more consideration by policymakers who want to further increase access to naloxone, particularly among the uninsured and underprivileged.
Increased naloxone distribution is one of the tactics used by federal and state governments to combat the opioid crisis since it can if administered quickly, reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. While several states have passed legislation to make it simpler to prescribe and administer naloxone, potential financial hurdles to naloxone access have received less attention.
In order to analyze trends in out-of-pocket expenses, researchers from RAND and the University of Southern California looked at more than 700,000 prescription records from 2010 to 2018 for both generic and name-brand naloxone. More than 70% of the nation's retail pharmacies were represented in the sample.
Over the course of the trial, more naloxone prescriptions were filled. While 11,432 naloxone prescriptions were filled in the sample in 2010, there were 386,249 filled in 2018.
The increase in naloxone prescriptions was not evenly distributed, despite changes in the law that have made it simpler to get naloxone and pharmaceutical breakthroughs that have made it possible for people to administer naloxone. While naloxone distribution among the insured significantly increased beginning in 2017, naloxone access among the uninsured did not see comparable advances.
According to researchers, the cost is probably a key factor in the reduced use among the uninsured. The majority of those with health insurance saw a decrease in out-of-pocket expenses as naloxone use rose, whereas those without insurance saw an increase.
In 2014, those with insurance paid an average of $27 out-of-pocket for each naloxone prescription, compared to $35 for those without coverage. By 2018, the average out-of-pocket expense for a naloxone prescription for those without insurance was $250. In the same year, the insured paid $18 on average out-of-pocket for each naloxone prescription.
Financial impediments to naloxone access have received less attention from federal and state policies than legal ones. These findings show that even if naloxone access has increased, out-of-pocket expenses continue to be a major barrier, especially for those without insurance.
According to researchers, authorities should think about adopting price subsidies for naloxone purchases, controlling copays for the insured, and releasing coupons aimed at the uninsured to encourage the usage of naloxone and avoid opioid overdose deaths. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute on Drug Abuse supported the study.