Minneapolis, MNBoston Scientific Corp. announced July 13 that it has agreed to pay $195 million to settle about 4,000 claims associated with defective Guidant pacemakers and defibrillators manufactured by the company it acquired last year, Guidant Corp. Since June, 2005, Guidant has issued safety warnings or recalled more than 88,000 defibrillators and about 200,000 pacemakers.
The company said in a statement that it reached the agreement during mediation sessions with U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur J.Boylan in Minneapolis. The claims had been consolidated in federal court, with the first case due to start trial July 30. The settlement covers an unspecified number of other similar claims from across the country, but does not cover all outstanding claims over the defective devices.
"We are pleased by this resolution, which is in the best interest of all involved," Jim Tobin, president and chief executive officer of Boston Scientific, said in a statement. "It will better allow us to focus our time and resources on developing innovative products to serve physicians and patients."
The plaintiff in the first trial is a 73-year old Californian, Lepoldo Duron. He became so fearful when he learned about the recall of his implanted Prizm defibrillator that he wrote his own obituary, and eventually had surgery to have the device removed and replaced. Duron's case represented a group whose devices never malfunctioned, but who demanded compensation for anxiety and their unpaid medical expenses.
Guidant was criticized for dragging its feet in notifying doctors, patients and regulators about the problems which caused some of the devices to short circuit. The defective devices led to at least seven deaths. The final cost of these defective devices, both for patients who received the implants, and to Boston Scientific, is far from being known, as the lawsuits other than those consolidated in Minnesota are still proceeding.
June 2006 I had my guidant pacemaker replaced and a week later I was notified that it was recalled. I went to a meeting with a representative from guidant explaining the recall. I was told I was at low risk of anything happening. I was told I could have it replaced and given $2500 yo help pay hospital cost but was recommended not to cause it had only been a week since my surgery and would be at more risk of infection. I took the advice and didn't want to risk infection or further medical attention. I from time to time would experience small little shocks around the area of my heart. I explained it to my cardiologist but he said he couldn't figure out why. After further visits and complaints and no help to figure why I was having these shocks. I gave up going to the Dr. I tried calling attorneys here in Denver but wouldn't be called back. Thanks Sal 41 years old
Posted by STANLEY W. TELL
I received my pacemaker/defibrillator in Febuaray of this year. About 45 days later I have been experiencing shocks in and around where my pacemaker/defibrillator are , now leads have come from under these devices and are just under my skin. I am really concerned about the recall and the quality of life I will have if any after they replace it.
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