A Philadelphia jury has awarded more than US$33 million to a woman who was injured as a result of a defectively designed inferior vena cava (IVC) filter. The trial was overseen by Philadelphia Judge Michael Erdos.
The litigation focused on allegations that the defendant, the company Rex Medical, failed to properly warn about the dangers of the filter devices, which were designed to prevent blood clots, but can allegedly migrate or fracture in patients’ bodies, causing perforations. The injuries, according to the accusers, put patients at risk for a host of medical problems, including gastrointestinal difficulties, kidney failure and death.
The trial result prompted Cook Medical to release a statement defending their IVC filter devices. Penned by Cynthia Kretz, vice president and general counsel for the company, this reads in full:
“Earlier today, a decision was made in Philadelphia against Rex Argon, an IVC filter device manufacturer.
“Cook Medical’s IVC filters are quality products that have saved thousands of lives and are critical to patient well-being. Our design and materials are different from the Rex Argon Option filter.
“To date, Cook Medical has had over 1,000 cases dismissed by the courts and we will continue to defend all of our IVC filters.
“IVC filters are an important option for physicians working to prevent the estimated 100,000 deaths associated with pulmonary embolism each year in the United States. Physicians and companies like Cook worked together to develop IVC filters to help patients and reduce the risk of these deadly pulmonary embolisms.
“Physicians choose to use IVC filters based on each patient’s medical needs. Every patient’s situation is different, and individual patient factors and risks must be considered when evaluating treatment options.
“We are dedicated to providing life-saving treatment options for patients.”
As of 16 September 2019, federal records showed more than 7,000 cases were pending against Cook Medical in Indiana federal court, and more than 8,600 were pending against Bard in Arizona federal court.
Cook won the first IVC filter trial in 2017, but it lost a US$1.2 million verdict in Texas state court in May 2018. Cook was also lost a US$3 million verdict in February. In March 2018, plaintiffs won a US$3.6 million verdict against Bard. That verdict included a US$2 million punitive damages award against Bard. The company, however, followed up in June 2018 with a defence win.