Corries medical products claims team are here to help you if you have had problems after using a medical device. Our team have specialist knowledge of hip implants and vaginal mesh products.
Helen Richardson, Corries dual qualified Barrister/Solicitor reports on the law and possible changes needed in the future.
Over recent months the media has been awash with articles about Claimant’s engaged in litigation against manufacturers of medical devices and products. These products are often heralded as a great advances in terms of care when they are released. The reality when they have been used often proves less than satisfactory.
At Corries Solicitors Ltd, our clinical negligence department is currently helping a number of Claimants who have suffered adverse effects following metal on metal hip transplants, and as a consequence of gynaecological mesh implants.
The Consumer Law – Risk v Benefit
The basis for all such claims against the manufacturer falls under the Consumer Protection 1987. This act states – very simply – that any product should simply be fit for purpose and free from defect.
Of course the devil is in the detail. What defines defect in the context of a medical product where there will inevitably be a percentage of risk, is often based upon a risk v benefit assessment.
If the number of patients benefiting from a product outweighs the number who suffer adverse consequences, this will usually be enough to settle the category/ classification of a medical product or device. This then feeds into any limitations or requirements imposed for regulation.
Over a course of time, as more patients use the product this scenario may change. The more evidence is collected, the risk v benefit assessment may begin to shift.
Medical products – our findings
At Corries this is what we see happening in relation to data on hip and mesh products.
Hip patients continue to come forward in increasing numbers complaining of apparent adverse reactions to metal ions.
Mesh patients continue to come forward complaining of mesh erosion and associated tissue and organ damage.
These increasing pattern is cause for concern for those affected. it is also a worry for those who have had the products and may be experiencing minor problems.
Unfortunately for many of these patients time is not helpful. Some patients get adverse symptoms or symptoms may be linked to the medical implant sometimes more than 10 years after the original surgery.
Limitation and Change to the Law
Under current Law this rules out any claim under the Limitation Act 1980 due to something called the long stop rule.
It is inevitable that the Consumer Protection Act 1987 will now be scrutinised in some detail. It is possible changes to both this act and the Limitation Act 1980 may be needed. We shall watch the ongoing litigations with a very close eye. If patients are losing out then a call for a change in the law must be strongly supported by patients and lawyers. if not many thousands of people in the UK each year could have massive changes to their lives with no consequences for the maker of the products. That cannot be right..
Corries Solicitors Ltd continue to represent and advise Claimants. We are at the vanguard of this area of law. We always continue to keep our clients and followers updated about developments.
Call us now for a free chat on 0800 655 6550 if you have been affected by a medical device or implant.