In October 2014, Endo Health Solutions (it took over AMS in 2011 for $2.9 billion) added $400 million to its $1.2 billion liability reserve to resolve “substantially all” suits related to vaginal mesh implants sold by its American Medical Systems (AMS) business. The company will fund payments through 2017, settling more than 10,000 suits, which averages about $48,000 per claim.
Maria (not her real name) has had serious health problems since getting an AMS transvaginal mesh sling implanted. “My bladder problems are far worse after the mesh surgery and I’m constantly getting infections, which has led to nasty side effects from so many antibiotics,” she says, crying. “I’ve been in constant pain for the last two years and no amount of painkillers can help. I have recently been diagnosed with clinical depression, which means taking more medication.” As if things can’t get any worse, Maria said she hasn’t been able to work full-time and no longer has medical insurance. “I need to get this mesh removed but UnitedHealthcare, my insurer, told me they don’t have a specialist or surgeon qualified to help me. I don’t know where to turn next.” And she can’t afford to pay much longer for her medications.
Maria hasn’t been told when she will receive a settlement. It is public knowledge, however, that AMS expects to fund the payments under all settlement agreements by December 31, 2017. Meanwhile, Maria has applied for Social Security disability assistance.
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Lastly, some women have been denied disability benefits because certain insurance companies have decided that TVM problems stem from a pre-existing condition, i.e., incontinence. Of course Maria is worried that she will be denied Social Security benefits. It can’t get much worse...