60 Minutes targets Boston Scientific gynecological mesh. Company says report is completely false
On Sunday evening, 60 Minutes reported on Boston Scientific's gynecological mesh product and the product liability lawsuits from 48k plaintiffs.
The 60 Minutes report stated that the company has been using an unapproved plastic from China, called polypropylene, which allegedly degrades quickly in the body causing pain and discomfort. The original producer of the plastic, Chevron Phillips, exited the business over concerns of the safety in the medical business.
Gynecological mesh, a common surgical implant, has generated the largest multi-district litigation since asbestos. 60 Minutes reports on one of the device's manufacturers, Boston Scientific. The company is facing 48,000 lawsuits. https://t.co/LcoplqYp6c— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) May 13, 2018
Thousands of women have filed suit against Boston Scientific claiming they suffered pain and serious complications. Gwyn Madsen said the mesh inside of her “felt like sandpaper back and forth. https://t.co/WF2ahnLsQb— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) May 13, 2018
Boston Scientific was quick to respond on social media, tweeting ahead of the 60 Minutes episode.
All of our products meet rigorous internal safety standards as well the standards of the FDA and other regulatory bodies. (2)— Boston Scientific (@bostonsci) May 14, 2018
Boston Scientific responded to the episode with a press release rejecting the claims:
To patients, caregivers, medical professionals and the Boston Scientific community:
The CBS network television show “60 Minutes” recently aired an investigative story with completely false claims that suggested that our transvaginal mesh products contain counterfeited and smuggled materials. We want you to know the facts and understand our perspective.
The broadcast resurfaced outdated and previously disproven allegations first made by attorneys in 2016. Our rigorous testing and investigation have shown that the resin currently used in our products matches a formulation from the original U.S. produced resin. This information was also reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and was part of the basis of their conclusions.
We believe that this story was irresponsible and misleading. We provided the show with a statement and are disappointed that our perspective, and those of medical societies and the healthcare community, were not fully reflected in the broadcast.
Instead, the show offered a one-sided view and commentary from clinicians and plastic experts involved with litigious actions. It is important to keep in mind that polypropylene-based (plastic) devices have been a mainstay in many medical procedures for more than 50 years, including hernia and tendon repair, sutures, and wound closure. Furthermore, our products meet rigorous internal safety standards, international standards, as well the standards of the FDA and other regulatory bodies. Leading physician societies have issued supporting statements on mesh, and the American Urogynecologic Society recently shared its perspective.
The segment also showed documents and photos that were taken out of context. Numerous communications not shown by “60 Minutes” demonstrated that our employees were committed to making sure that we complied with all import and export regulations in shipping the resin to the U.S. The steps taken by Boston Scientific depicted in this segment were inaccurate. We packaged the materials to prevent them from damage during transportation. This was well-documented and would not have prevented customs officials from opening or further inspecting the bags.
Our top priority is providing safe and effective products. We stand firm in our support of women with pelvic floor disorders who continue to need effective treatment options. Nearly one million women have been successfully treated with our transvaginal mesh products.
Our mesh products contribute to only one percent of annual sales to our company. Continuing to provide these mesh products is not about profits. It is about doing what is right for patients. Without these products, women would be left with few treatment options for these debilitating and often embarrassing conditions.
Across Boston Scientific, our employees work diligently to bring forward important medical devices that help people around the world to live longer, healthier lives. We remain steadfast in our commitment to patients.
Executive Vice President
MedSurg, Boston Scientific
President, Urology and Pelvic Health
Chief Executive Officer
Boston Scientific's stock was off 2% pre-market but recovered at market open and is now positive, up .40%.