The trial date for more than 1,000 NuvaRing lawsuits has been extended, suggesting the contraceptive’s manufacturer, Merck, may be considering settlement options. NuvaRing lawyers verify that this extension allows more lawsuits to be filed by anyone suffering from serious side effects of the device.
The extraordinarily large number of affected women filing NuvaRing lawsuits in the United States caused the cases to be consolidated in a federal multi-district court in Missouri. Trials were expected to commence in May 2013, however trial dates have now been extended to an undisclosed date. The number of NuvaRing lawsuits rose steadily throughout 2012, and even already into 2013. To date, there are more than 1,000 cases currently pending in the Missouri Eastern District.
In 2012 alone numerous multi-national studies emerged illuminating the immensity of risks for NuvaRing users. Last year, for example, the British Medical Journal published a study by Danish researchers linking devices like NuvaRing to as much as a 90% increased risk of blood clots when compared to oral contraceptive (‘the pill’). The study also found that NuvaRing users had a 6.5 times higher risk of developing serious blood clots when compared to women who did not use any form of hormonal birth control. Additionally, the Danish study found that women using a transdermal patch have a 7.9 times greater risk of developing blood clots compared to women of the same age who did not use hormonal contraception.
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One month later, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study which found that NuvaRing users were 2.5 to 3 times more likely to develop dangerous blood clots. Despite these and other scientific and medical findings, NuvaRing’s product information pamphlets remained unchanged, claiming that other studies showed no significant risk of blood clots.
The FDA itself released a study in late 2011 as an overview of the more than 800,000 American women who use birth control. The study found that those using NuvaRing had a 56% increased risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism over women using oral contraception. DVT refers to a blood clot that has formed in a vein deep in the body and travels throughout the blood stream. The loose clot is called an embolus, and can travel to arteries in the lungs and heart and block blood flow, which is a pulmonary embolism. This is a very serious condition, with potential to permanently damage the lungs and other organs, and can ultimately lead to death, stroke or heart attack. A detailed animation of pulmonary embolism and DVT can be found here.
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Pulmonary embolisms can cause shortness of breath and sudden, sharp pain in the lungs. This condition is particularly dangerous because some patients do not experience any symptoms at all. Not surprisingly, Merck has reported reduced sales of NuvaRing. According to its 2012 third quarter report, NuvaRing sales dropped 2% from the same period in 2011. This is about a $3 million decrease.
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The NuvaRing litigation is similar in type to the lawsuits Bayer Pharmeceuticals is facing over its Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella contraceptive products. Merck is curiously taking a very different approach, however, than Bayer, which is diligently trying to settle the Yaz lawsuits. Merck has shown no signs of settlement, and is delaying the legal process, now until at least July. Merck has already lost many motions to have the case dismissed, and has attempted in various ways to make it increasingly difficult for NuvaRing attorneys to prosecute. The delay, however, does have a silver lining. It is allowing more and more women adversely affected by this dangerous device to file a case as part of the Missouri trials. The numbers are only mounting, and experts affirm that the odds are in the victims’ favor.
NuvaRing attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm encourage anyone suffering from deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolisms, and other serious side effects to contact an experienced lawyer immediately for a free legal consultation. You may be eligible to take part in the Merck proceedings and receive the compensation you are entitled to.
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