The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation is expected to decide soon on whether to centralize lawsuits filed against C. R. Bard over its allegedly defective inferior vena cava (IVC) filters. Plaintiffs in Bard IVC filter lawsuits filed for centralization back in May, requesting that at least 25 IVC filter lawsuits in 22 federal jurisdictions be brought before a single judge. On July 30, the Judicial Panel convened to hear oral arguments for and against consolidation. IVC filter lawsuits filed against medical device manufacturer Cook Group have already been centralized in their own multidistrict litigation.
IVC filters are small, spider-shaped objects inserted into the vena cava to prevent blood clots from gathering near vital organs. The devices are intended to lower the risk of potentially fatal cardiovascular events, such as stroke. However, mounting evidence suggests IVC filters may be life-threatening. In 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety communication warning about the risks of long-term IVC filter use. The agency cited 921 adverse event reports filed between 2005 and the time of writing. These included complaints of whole device migration, filter fracture, and perforation of the vena caval wall. Many of the cases proved fatal.
Moreover, researchers and practitioners have recently begun to question whether retrievable IVC filters offer any health benefits at all. A study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association claimed IVC filters like those manufactured by Bard confer “no benefit in terms of pulmonary embolism recurrence or mortality.” It has also not gone unnoticed that to date, only one randomized controlled trial has been conducted with IVC filters—and that was over a decade ago.
Some Bard IVC filter lawsuits have already gone to trial. In January of this year, Lopez McHugh attorneys successfully represented a client in the second such lawsuit in the nation to proceed to trial. The case was settled after 11 days of trial.
Check with your doctor about any health risks a medical device may pose.