Several top medical device companies this week had legal issues come up. Johnson & Johnson, still upset over losing Guidant to Boston Scientific, is suing the aforementioned company for $4 billion. Meanwhile Becton Dickinson is being court ordered to notify customers about its false advertisements for its safety syringes. And as if being sued for $4 billion wasn’t enough, Boston Scientific has been ordered to pay out $26.7 million to four women in their vaginal mesh lawsuit. Sometimes being at the top isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Johnson & Johnson is suing Boston Scientific for $4 billion for preventing it from acquiring Guidant. This all started back in 2004 when J&J originally agreed to acquire Guidant for $25.4 billion. A few product recalls later and the price was renegotiated to $21.5 billion with Guidant given the option to consider higher deals but not seek one out. In December 2005 Boston Scientific made a public offer of $25 billion. Abbott Labs stepped in, offering to buy Guidant’s vascular business so that Boston Scientific’s deal could go through without antitrust concerns. There were a few more back and forth bids and Boston Scientific ended up buying Guidant for $27 billion. However J&J called foul play, stating that Guidant violated its original agreement by allowing Abbot Labs to conduct due diligence before it agreed to purchase the vascular business. What makes it even more odd is Guidant is considered a large failure for Boston Scientific. It’s been a long legal back and forth, so it will be interesting to see what happens.

Meanwhile Becton Dickinson is being ordered by a Texas judge to tell its customers that it provided false advertisements for its safety syringes. A year ago Becton Dickinson was competing with Retractable Technologies in an antitrust battle over their competing safety syringes. Becton Dickinson lost the lawsuit and was ordered to pay $340 million in damages to Retractable Technologies. Becton Dickinson falsely claimed that its syringes were sharper and wasted less medicine than Retractable Technologies’ syringes. Becton Dickinson is also being required to post a notice on its website and provide training for all employees and distributors so that this does not occur again.

And on top of their $4 billion lawsuit, Boston Scientific lost a lawsuit in which it now has to pay $26.7 million to four women who had undue pain and suffering caused by their vaginal mesh device, the Pinnacle implant. The Miami jury found that Boston Scientific failed to notify doctors and patients of the device’s risks and that the device itself was improperly designed. Boston Scientific is going to appeal, of course, considering it is facing another 23,000 lawsuits regarding its vaginal implants.

So in summary, J&J is suing Boston Scientific when it should probably be glad it lost out on Guidant, Becton Dickinson is hopefully learning its lesson on false advertising, and Boston Scientific could be in serious trouble over these vaginal implant legal battles. Even though these companies do a lot of good, sometimes it is necessary to keep them in line so that they don’t start overstepping their boundaries.


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