Merck Agrees to Settle NuvaRing Consolidated Personal Injury Cases for $100 Million
Merck & Co, the second-largest pharmaceutical company in the US, has agreed to settle several thousand consolidated lawsuits against the company’s hormonal birth control device,NuvaRing, for $100 million.
The settlement resolves both federal and state cases in Missouri and New Jersey. It will provide an average payout of $58,000 per personal injury lawsuit.
NuvaRing received FDA approval in 2001 and was a popular form of birth control until both consumer complaints and medical studies showed a link between the hormonal birth control insert and an increase in blood clots, which can lead to deep vein thrombosis, heart attacks, pulmonary embolism, and strokes.
Women and their loved ones began filing lawsuits against Merck, claiming the drug maker knew about the blood clot dangers but failed to warn consumers or physicians in its advertising of the device.
The pharmaceutical company, however, has agreed to pay a substantially smaller settlement amount than competing birth control manufacturers, in part, some experts say, because plaintiffs had a difficult time proving that NuvaRing directly caused their blood clots and related injuries. A federal judge, in fact, threw out seven cases in the NuvaRing multidistrict litigation (MDL) because the plaintiffs could not show that the device caused their injuries.
“Merck may be getting out much more cheaply than its competitors because proving the liability case against the NuvaRing device appears to be more difficult than against the other contraceptives,” Carl Tobias, who teaches product-liability law at the University of Richmond in Virginia, said in a phone interview.
In contrast, Bayer AG, manufacturers of Yaz and Yasmin hormonal birth control pills, agreed to pay $1.6 billion to settle blood clot injury cases.
The settlement must be approved by all of the plaintiffs in the case – if a substantial number do not agree to the settlement amount, then the MDL will continue litigation.
NuvaRing Side Effects Can Lead to Personal Injury
NuvaRing is now being linked to various, and sometimes serious, problems and side effects. NuvaRing is a birth control ring containing desogestrel. Desogestrel is referred to as “third generation” oral contraceptives. The Food and Drug Administration released a statement in 1995 stating that “new studies indicate about a two-fold increase in the risk of venous blood clots associated with products containing desogestrel.” Essentially, NuvaRing thickens the blood, making it easier to clot.
In a study published in Contraception 2010, two cases of DVT were reported out of 72 women using contraceptive vaginal rings.
Other possible problems can be derived from mechanical issues with the device and cases involving improper insertion, placement, and expulsion of the device. Others have claimed to feel the device during sexual intercourse. Other side effects include headache, nausea, vaginitis, and leucorrhea (thing white to yellow vaginal discharge), among others. These side effects are relatively mild and can be treated.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with NuvaRing Personal Injury Cases
If you or a loved one have used the NuvaRing hormonal birth control device and have experienced serious side effects including shortness of breath from a pulmonary embolism, heart attack, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, or if your loved one has died from any of these causes, you may have a personal injury or wrongful death case. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We offer free consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to contact us. 803.252.4800