Corporations Romanticize Benefits, Downplay Risks of Drugs Marketed to Women

Corporations Romanticize Benefits, Downplay Risks of Drugs Marketed to Women | Pintas & Mullins Law Firm
Some corporations have a history of exploiting women to profit off their use of harmful drugs and medical devices. A recent report by the American Association of Justice looks back at how women have suffered more than men from dangerous drugs and medical devices. Companies saw women as easy targets for products that could “fix” normal things like irritability, depression, menopause, and menstruation.

Despite their knowledge of the serious health risks involved, corporations continue to advertise dangerous products to women today.

Read about these harmful products below so that, if ever you’re faced with treatments using these drugs or devices, you can make an informed decision.


Abilify is a medication prescribed for conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Part of the reason this drug is so concerning is because of how often it’s prescribed for mild depression or minor sleeping problems.

Abilify blocks dopamine receptors in the brain that are linked to the feeling of reward, pleasure, and compulsion. In some people, the drug can cause sudden, uncontrollable impulses to shop, eat, gamble, or engage in dangerous sexual activity.

Lawsuits involving Abilify state that the manufacturer failed to warn doctors and patients that the drug could cause compulsive behaviors. Gambling, shopping, eating, and sex are among the most common addictions linked to Abilify. Women who suffer these compulsions after starting Abilify find that their actions cause psychological distress, health problems, financial harm, and social consequences.

Despite data showing that women’s behavior improves when they stop using Abilify (or reduced their dosage), the manufacturer made no mention of uncontrollable compulsions on the label until 2016.

Related: Abilify Side Effects Now Officially Include Uncontrollable Urges


Since its release in 2002, Essure has been marketed to women as a permanent birth control. The device is non-surgically inserted into the fallopian tubes and doesn’t release any hormones. Instead, it prevents pregnancy by allowing scar tissue to grow around it, effectively blocking sperm from getting to a woman’s eggs.

Thousands of women have reported complications following the insertion of Essure. Some suspect that nickel, the material Essure’s made of, to be the culprit.

Some of the more severe side effects women report are vaginal bleeding, abnormal heartbeats, and life-threatening ectopic pregnancies, where a fertilized egg becomes trapped inside the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancies can be life-threatening. Some can be treated with medication, while others require emergency surgery.

Essure received a Black-Box warning in 2016 because of its debilitating side effects. Women who’ve tried to get their Essure removed have found out that, because of the way it’s implanted, there’s often no way to remove it without also removing the whole uterus.

Related: Essure Kept on Market Despite Lawsuits, Deaths, and Injuries


This hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) is inserted into the uterus and is supposed to prevent pregnancy for up to five years. The device releases a little bit of the hormone progestin every day, creating a mucus that blocks sperm from getting through the cervix.

Mirena can also pierce the uterus, making its removal difficult, especially if it goes unnoticed for a long period of time. Migration is also a problem, and causes a higher risk for ectopic pregnancy.

Thousands of women have filed cases against Mirena’s producer after experiencing serious side effects including, but not limited to: migration, ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease, life-threatening sepsis, and severe bleeding.

Related: Mirena Popularity Increasing Despite Devastating Injuries


Talcum powder – the main ingredient in Shower to Shower and baby powders – comes from a soft mineral called talc and is commonly used to freshen the feminine genital area. With repeated use, the powder is likely to get embedded into the ovaries. The longer it’s there, the more time it has to become toxic and lead to ovarian cancer.

Medical researchers first found evidence of talcum particles in ovarian tumors in the early 1970s. Despite years of warnings, neither the FDA nor talcum powder manufacturers have shown concern about the cancer risk.

Multi-million-dollar lawsuits against companies like Johnson & Johnson have suggested that using talcum powder on the genital area over a period of time could contribute to ovarian cancer.

Related: Cancer from Asbestos-Containing Talcum Powder


Breast cancer chemotherapy drug Taxotere kills hair follicles in women, causing permanent hair loss. This side effect wasn’t publicized by the manufacturer until ten years after the drug was put on the market.

The FDA finally updated the Taxotere label in 2016 to include warnings of alopecia, or permanent hair loss.

Women who choose Taxotere often do so because it’s administered every three weeks, while similar but weaker drugs have to be administered more frequently. Fewer trips to the hospital make Taxotere more appealing, even though similar drugs are just as effective.

Women filing suit against Taxotere claim they weren’t warned that the drug could cause permanent hair loss. Although temporary hair loss is a common and well-known side effect of nearly all chemotherapy drugs, only Taxotere’s hair loss is permanent.

Related: Breast Cancer Survivors Face a Lifetime of Taxotere Toxicity


Transvaginal mesh is a net-like implant that supports a weakened vaginal wall. It’s used to treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI) or pelvic organ prolapse (POP), which can happen to women of all ages after surgery, childbirth, or menopause.

Women have reported experiencing mesh erosion or failure, severe pain, infection, organ damage, and internal bleeding after getting a transvaginal mesh implant.

These safety concerns prompted the FDA to change the status of this mesh from medium to high-risk in 2016.

Given all the side effects listed above, you may wonder why variations of these drugs and medical devices are still on the market—the women who’ve been harmed by them certainly do.

If you’re considering using any of these drugs or devices, we urge you to discuss your risk potential with your health care providers.

If you or a loved one has suffered from serious injuries after using one of these products, you have the right to file a legal claim. Our experienced drug and medical device attorneys can help determine if you have a case. All claims are handled on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay us unless you’re awarded compensation.