A discovery schedule has been proposed in the Bard IVC filter lawsuits that have been consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the District of Arizona. The schedule relates to some of the initial cases filed in the MDL and will potentially allow for the first federal trials to be held sometime early in 2017.
Approximately 100 product liability lawsuits are currently pending in the Bard IVC filter MDL, which was established in August 2015. The MDL was created to reduce duplicative discovery requests, efficiently use both parties’ resources, and avoid conflicting pretrial rulings. Experts say that several thousand complaints may eventually be centralized in the MDL, although many of the early cases had already reached advanced stages of litigation at the time the MDL was established.
What is an IVC Filter?
IVC filters are used to prevent pulmonary embolism (PE), a potentially preventable cause of death in hospitalized and other high-risk patients. The probability of PE increases with the development of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and treatment for both PE and DVT is anticoagulation, but in instances when blood thinners are not appropriate, an IVC filter is used instead.
On May 6, 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety communication acknowledging reports of adverse events and issues associated with IVC filters. Complications included:
- Filter fracture
- Device migration
- Perforation of the IVC
- Problems removing the device
The agency advised that some of these concerns could be related the length of time the filter has been in the body. There are currently no guidelines on the time frame during which IVC filters must be retrieved from the body, and according to the FDA, the majority of IVC filters are not retrieved, despite the perceived risk of increased fracture, embolism, and IVC wall penetration.