Friday, July 13, 2007

Boston Scientific Settles Defibrillator Suits

And they got off relatively cheap:
(WSJ) Boston Scientific Corp. said it agreed to settle all pending federal lawsuits against the company alleging harm from faulty defibrillators and pacemakers for $195 million, well below the sum the company had estimated as its likely liability.

The company acquired liability for the suits through its 2006 acquisition of Guidant Corp., which was forced to recall more than 100,000 cardiac-assist devices in 2005. One of its defibrillator models occasionally failed to deliver lifesaving shocks to the heart when needed.

Several attorneys representing plaintiffs declined to comment, saying they were subject to a judge's order not to speak.

Guidant already has settled some cases brought on behalf of patients who died. The vast majority of pending cases -- about 1,850, covering more than 5,000 individuals -- were brought by patients who had their devices removed because of the Guidant recalls, complaining that the company waited too long before informing them and doctors of the flaw.

The case has been consolidated in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.

Boston Scientific had estimated the suits would cost it $732 million but hadn't set aside any reserves. Also pending are about 100 state lawsuits that aren't part of the settlement. In addition, a number of state attorneys general have said that they were probing the matter, which could be a source of added liabilities.
This settlement might now breathe some much-needed air into this struggling company, but some good CPR is still needed for the stent market. (Oh, what a line...) But seriously, maybe now they can put most of this mess behind them.


No comments: