Via America’s Lawyer: Attorney Robert Price joins Mike Papantonio to explain how doctors are being swindled by producers of surgical supplies, specifically defective hernia mesh. Manufacturers are urging providers to use their hastily-made mesh material in hernia procedures, unnecessarily endangering the lives of patients. Plus, a federal judge warns drug manufacturers they won’t be able to plea out of an 800% price hike on diabetes med. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.
*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.
Mike Papantonio: Boston Scientific has reached a $188 million settlement nationwide over it’s phony marketing claims about certain surgical mesh products. These products were found to be totally unnecessary for most procedures and ended up causing extreme pain and bleeding among patients, per, absolute permanent injury. I’ve got Robert Price with me, who was one of the lawyers that made all that happen, has been involved with the mesh case for a long time. Robert, tell us about this litigation, but fill us in about what this is about. What was the case about, why the settlement and what’s ahead of us?
Robert Price: Thanks, thanks for having me on, Mike. So the Boston Scientific settlement was a settlement about the pelvic mesh products, which were products that were implanted in women to treat incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse and things like that.
Mike Papantonio: And you worked that case as well.
Robert Price: We’ve been working that case and many other manufacturers for over 10 years. And essentially this, this was a settlement on behalf of AGs around the country that found that Boston Scientific had misled consumers, misled doctors about the true risks associated with the devices.
Mike Papantonio: Okay. So give us a recap on what you’re doing right now.
Robert Price: So what we’re doing now is we see a lot of these same manufacturers did the pelvic meshes also have done hernia meshes for many years, and it’s the same by-product, it’s the same synthetic plastic polymer used to repair hernias, as well as the pelvic organ issues as we just talked about as well.
Mike Papantonio: Well, you’re talking about the material. The, but the thing that struck me is when you discovered that they were using nonmedical grade material. Talk about, they’re using non, they’re using fishing line, basically, that’s sold in a fishing store. Talk about that.
Robert Price: Absolutely. What was uncovered in trials a few years ago, and what we’re working up, the backstory, even, even deeper. What some companies do, not necessarily all of them, but several companies do this is they use a non-medical grade by-product so literally just bottom shelf, not approved for human usage type stuff. It breaks down, it degrades.
Mike Papantonio: It actually says not app, approved for human use, right?
Robert Price: Right. The stuff that you get from the factory actually comes with a warning that says, do not use this in the human body.
Mike Papantonio: But they used it anyway.
Robert Price: They used it anyway, and what we’re also discovering, Mike, is that they are coming up with different essentially shell companies to run this stuff through. So people don’t know any better. That’s another thing we’re discovering.
Mike Papantonio: Well, what do you mean by that? They’re, they’re, they’re setting up shell companies. They’re moving from the manufacturer of the, of the material, moving through a shell company, and then moving to the people who create the mesh product.
Robert Price: Right. Right.
Mike Papantonio: To try to wash the information.
Robert Price: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Mike Papantonio: Okay. So as this goes far, as this goes forward, we’re talking about a hernia mesh. What kind of injury does it cause? What, what should be people, what should people be aware of?
Robert Price: So, so a lot of these products have these gimmicky coatings and things like that on them. And what we’re seeing is the coating breaks down too soon. It doesn’t work correctly. And these meshes actually, they, they adhere to people’s organs. They’ll blow out too soon. They’ll fail, catastrophic injuries like bowel punctures, internal bleeding, you said, organ perforations.
Mike Papantonio: Does the material, does the material migrate through their system after it blows out?
Robert Price: It can, it absolutely can. It can blow out. It can move over and then you can have some of this chemical leaching that goes on with this really low grade stuff, high inflammatory responses that cause gut problems and things like that as well.
Mike Papantonio: Well, Robert, one of the things that struck me is this is a procedure that’s not even necessary because a doctor that’s trained without mesh can create, he can fix a hernia without any of this garbage, right?
Robert Price: A lot of times.
Mike Papantonio: So industry came in and said, look, you need this because you’re a doctor who’s not a specialist in fixing hernias, but now you can increase your practice if you’ll use our material. Isn’t that kind of the scenario here?
Robert Price: That’s right. We call it, we call them the gimmick meshes, which is they go to a doctor and say, yeah, you know, we know this hernia is real small and it would take you 20, 30, 40 minutes to do this, but it’ll take you five minutes with this easy patch. They think that, you know, the doctors, a lot of times they think it’s FDA approved. They think it’s been studied when it really hasn’t. And a lot of times it’s unnecessary. Doctors don’t need to do it, but it happens because they sold them a bill of goods and it’s turned out the truth is, is unveiled many years later.
Mike Papantonio: Actually, when you look at the pelvic mesh cases, the juries jumped all over these, these companies and these are the same companies, aren’t they?
Robert Price: Right. Right.
Mike Papantonio: Robert, thank you for joining me. Okay.
Robert Price: Thanks, Mike.
Mike Papantonio: Finally tonight, some good news. A federal judge has warned several drug companies that they’re going to have a hard time convincing a jury that 800% price hikes on a diabetes drugs was necessary. Farron Cousins joins me to talk about this. We have done so many stories on the idea that the pharmaceutical industry is raping the American public. And it’s amazing. It’s amazing. When we do one of these stories, you know, if we do a story well, you know, we hate Trump, there’s going to be 200,000 people that show up for that. When we talk about something as important as this, there’ll be 10, 15, 20,000 people. It’s amazing that people aren’t paying attention to this. Pick up the story.
Farron Cousins: I, I know. This is, this is crazy. And again, this is the result of a really good lawsuit, where they’re saying, hey, these two pharmaceutical companies basically colluded together to keep generics off the market for a couple more years. And in the course of the discovery here, they realized like, well, hold up. Not only did you collude to keep generics off the market, you also kind of colluded to raise your prices by 800%, gouging consumers, instead of, you know, a couple dollars per pill to over $40 per pill. And you, the judge told them last week said, you do realize you’re going to have to go in front of a jury and you’re going to have to explain to them why you did that. And that’s not going to help your case.
Mike Papantonio: I, I, I don’t do this very often. I’ve got, I just cracked up when I read the defense lawyers for these companies. This guy is Lev, his name is Lev L-E-I-V Blad. Okay. Leiv Blad. He says, well, there’s no antitrust taking place here, judge. This is just good faith, deep business dealings among friends. He said that. The other lawyer, another defense lawyer says, judge, we just raised the price 800% because we thought it was in the, he really said, I swear to God, we just raised it 800% because we thought it was in the shareholders’ best interest. You think? So the point being, this judge showed some courage and said, you know what, we’re going to let you make these arguments in front of a jury. Let’s see what the jury thinks at the end of the day. Right?
Farron Cousins: And that really is the best thing for the judge to do. Just sit there and say, listen, people are going to be paying attention to this case. And it’s almost, you know, taunting them. Like, I, I want you to come out here and I want you to make that argument for everyone to hear and let’s see what happens.
Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Leiv Blad and David Marriott, I’ve got to, I’ve got, I want to be there for this argument in front of the jury. I don’t think it’s going to float.
Farron Cousins: Yeah.
Mike Papantonio: Thank you for joining me.
Farron Cousins: Thank you.