NuvaRing was originally published by Organon, which has since merged with Merck & Co. It is the original contraceptive ring that has been released worldwide. However, many NuvaRing users have claimed that the devices have caused serious side effects such as blood clots and other life-threatening health problems. Some users have died, causing their families to file NuvaRing lawsuits against Merck & Co.
Indeed, scientific research has shown that NuvaRing users are at a higher risk of blood clotting injuries and a higher risk of many side effects than indicated on the warning label, including strokes, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and death. Over 1,983 litigations were combined into one federal, state, and 215 state litigation into one, New Jersey, litigation. There are still 89 cases pending by 2019.
NuvaRing is a contraceptive vaginal ring that is inserted into the vagina. Here it is used to prevent pregnancy by releasing a low dose of etonogestrel (a progestogen hormone) and an estrogen over a three-week cycle.
While many users have reported satisfactory use of NuvaRing, further research has shown that the risk of dangerous complications is higher than indicated on the warning signs. In addition, serious health problems have occurred in healthy women using NuvaRing, with venous thromboembolic events such as blood clots in the legs and lungs being the most common.
NuvaRing Health Risks Studies
From 2001 to 2007, an eight-year study was conducted that worked with over 800,000 hormonal contraceptive users to find evidence of an increased risk of blood clots. The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) also classified the risk of embolism before the approval of NuvaRing as a significant security risk, but did not initially publish the warning.
As of October 2013, the FDA asked NuvaRing to issue warnings about the increased risk of embolism and cardiovascular problems on the warning label. At this point, several other studies have been published that report the increased likelihood of such dangerous side effects with NuvaRing compared to other hormone contraceptives, patches, and birth control pills.
The NuvaRing allegations against Merck & Co.
Many NuvaRing users claim that Merck & Co. was either negligent or knowingly fraudulent, and said the manufacturer should have known about the risk and had to do more to warn users. As of 2007, more and more women and families reported serious medical complications such as embolisms, coagulation problems, and more, even though they were healthy women before using NuvaRing.
In total, there were more than 2,100 NuvaRing lawsuits against Merck & Co accusing the manufacturer of failing to test the effects of etonogestrel, the hormones in NuvaRing that have since emerged as the primary risk factor. In addition, the lawsuits found that the safety information published with NuvaRing was based solely on oral use.
NuvaRing health risks
While the NuvaRing labels had health warnings, they primarily emphasized what users considered to be minor side effects such as breast tenderness and nausea. However, many users continued to suffer from blood clots, strokes and heart attacks, high blood pressure, blood disorders and breast and reproductive organ cancer.
NuvaRing lawsuits received more attention after the death of 43-year-old Ann Tompkins from Nebraska. In 2010, after Tompkins died of pulmonary embolism due to a blood clot in the lungs just five months after starting NuvaRing, her estate filed a lawsuit. Ericka Langhart, a 24-year-old woman, also died of four massive heart attacks caused by pulmonary embolism. Her doctors confirmed that they believed NuvaRing to be the cause, and in 2011 her parents filed another lawsuit against Merck.
Although the FDA published large-scale studies in 2011 on the increased risk of blood clots related to NuvaRing and the high profile of lawsuits against Merck & Co., there was no recall from NuvaRing.
NuvaRing litigation comparison
In 2014, Merck & Co. offered a $ 100 million settlement to all cases, which should be divided among approximately 3,800 people, including some cases whose claims had not yet been filed in court. Those wishing to register for the settlement had to have a NuvaRing injury before February 7, 2014 and submit a registration form and claim their share before the deadline on July 21, 2014.
The $ 100 million settlement was split between all applicants, so not all recipients received around $ 60,000, which is an equal percentage. Instead, the case was settled in stages so that each applicant received a share of the money depending on the severity of their health problems related to NuvaRing.
However, several applicants, including the parents of Erika Langhart, the 24-year-old woman who died of complications from pulmonary embolism, decided not to choose the agreement.
Are Lawyers Still Taking NuvaRing Litigation?
NuvaRing cases are still pending against Merck & Co., but the majority of law firms are not commencing new NuvaRing lawsuits. This is due to the fact that NuvaRing will have an updated label from 2013 that describes the increased risk of blood clots and other related health problems. The 2014 Merck & Co. settlement was accepted by the majority of applicants, and anyone else who had suffered injuries related to NuvaRing prior to 2014 had officially missed the deadline if they didn't until July 21, 2014 had decided to compare.