I’ve been closely following the news about the Mirena IUD injury cases because it’s directly relevant to my job as a pharmaceutical liability attorney. Patients in these cases allege that the Mirena IUD, a contraceptive device implanted in the uterus, tore through their uterine walls and caused serious injuries requiring surgery. At least 40 lawsuits have been filed against Mirena’s maker, Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, alleging that it failed to warn patients about this risk. Now, according to the National Law Journal, the cases have been consolidated in the Southern District of New York, which will have its first status conference May 17. Plaintiffs’ attorneys told the publication that they expect several hundred or even thousands of cases.
The alleged problem with Mirena is its tendency to wear through the uterine wall over time. It can stay embedded in the uterine wall or perforate the uterus altogether; either way, it can cause severe pain and organ damage, requiring emergency surgery. In some cases, the device was able to perforate or attach to other internal organs; a migrated device also allowed some patients to become pregnant. Some women have needed hysterectomies, which takes away their ability to have children. Another complication of the Mirena IUD is ectopic pregnancy, which is a pregnancy that occurs in the Fallopian tubes rather than the uterus. Because the growing fetus eventually bursts the tube, threatening the life and fertility of the mother, these pregnancies are generally not viable and usually terminated.
The Mirena injury lawsuits say Bayer’s package warnings about the risk of perforation on insertion are not adequate, since the perforation the plaintiffs are claiming took place well after insertion. In ordering the consolidation, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation found that there were common factual issues about the risk of perforation and migration, and the adequacy of the warning Bayer gave. Thus, the lawsuits will be heard as MDL cases, which means the cases will share discovery—the information-gathering period of the lawsuit—and the presiding court’s rulings will apply to each case. Unlike with a class action, however, the court will consider each victim’s individual injuries. Interestingly, the article noted that Bayer has already been disciplined for overreaching in its marketing of Mirena; it is also facing numerous Yaz/Yasmin birth control pill lawsuits.
As a dangerous medical device lawyer, I am pleased to see that the Judicial Panel agrees that this is an appropriate set of cases for consolidation. Judging by the article, Bayer’s argument against consolidation was that its warning about perforation on insertion was adequate to warn about perforation at any time during the lifetime of the product. I agree that that’s not true—and it’s likely that any uterine perforation on insertion would take place with the doctor who inserted it still in the room. By contrast, the perforation these plaintiffs are claiming took place so long after insertion that they may not have realized Mirena was to blame for their pain, bleeding and other symptoms. At Carey, Danis & Lowe, our defective medical device attorneys are currently offering information to plaintiffs who may have been injured by the Mirena IUD.
If you believe the Mirena IUD or another medical device caused your serious medical problems, don’t wait to call Carey, Danis & Lowe for help. For a free, confidential case evaluation, send us an email or call today at 1-877-678-3400.
Similar blog posts:
Mirena Lawsuit Filed Alleging Bayer Failed to Warn of Embedment and Other Risks
Bayer Seeks Consolidation of Mirena IUD Injury Lawsuits in New Jersey State Court
More Women Switching to IUDs as Their Birth Control Method