Merck & Co., a major pharmaceutical company, is facing over 1,000 lawsuits over NuvaRing, a vaginal contraceptive. According to the allegations and numerous reports, NuvaRing has been linked to blood clotting, or venous thromboembolism, and other side effects. This fall, suits filed in Missouri are set to begin. These suits allege negligence on the part of Merck & Co. in failing to adequately warn consumers of risks associated with NuvaRing.
Released in 2001, NuvaRing was marketed as an alternative to oral contraception. It is a flexible plastic ring that releases hormones once inserted vaginally. Reportedly, the blood clotting is caused by the release of hormones which correlates to inconsistent hormone delivery.
A study was released in May, 2012 that apparently indicated NuvaRing was not linked to increased risk of blood clotting that posed a danger to patient health. However, Merck & Co. paid for the study, and other studies conducted do not agree with the one funded by Merck & Co. A study published by the British Medical Journal the very same week indicated a 90% increase in the risk of blood clotting with NuvaRing when compared to traditional oral contraceptives. In June, 2012, the New England Journal of Medicine released a study that found blood clotting was two-and-a-half to three times more likely to develop in women using the NuvaRing. Reportedly, this blood clotting can occur in the legs, lungs, or heart. Yet another study, this one conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggested that women using NuvaRing are 56% more likely to develop blood clots than women who use older, oral methods of contraception.
Other side effects associated with NuvaRing are pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, strokes, heart attack, and wrongful death. According to the FDA’s Adverse Events Database, 5,400 reports have been made naming NuvaRing as a suspect. Of these reports, over 1,200 involved pulmonary embolism, 800 involved deep vein thrombosis, 300 were considered life-threatening, and at least 160 involved death.
Merck & Co. should have conducted more extensive research before marketing their product to the public, and patients had a right to be made fully aware of the risks of NuvaRing. Women who believe they have suffered personal injury because of their use of NuvaRing should explore their legal rights and options immediately.