Please note that we have settled our existing cases are no longer accepting NuvaRing cases. Unfortunately, we are unaware of any firms that are still pursuing these cases.
NuvaRing’s Prescribing Information Does Not Warn Patients Of The Increased Risk Of Deep Vein Thrombosis, Pulmonary Embolism, And Cerebral Venous Thrombosis Compared To Other Hormonal Birth Control Methods
The NuvaRing prescribing information given to doctors, nurses, and patients simply says:
The use of oral contraceptives is associated with increased risks of several serious conditions including venous and arterial thrombotic and thromboembolic events (such as myocardial infarction, thromboembolism, and stroke), hepatic neoplasia, gallbladder disease, and hypertension, although the risk of serious morbidity or mortality is very small in healthy women without underlying risk factors.
The use of combination oral contraceptives is associated with increased risks of several serious side effects, including blood clots, stroke, or heart attack. NuvaRing is not for women with a history of these conditions. The risk of getting blood clots may be greater with the type of progestin in NuvaRing than with some other progestins in certain low-dose birth control pills. It is unknown if the risk of blood clots is different with NuvaRing use than with the use of certain birth control pills.
That warning is simply inadequate: dozens of scientific studies going back to 1995 show that NuvaRing is, like Ortho Evra and Yaz & Yasmin, significantly more likely to cause blood clots, strokes, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and other venous thromboembolism that can lead to paralysis, disability, or death than oral contraceptives.
Medical researchers have known for some time that hormonal contraceptives caused an increase risk of venous thromboembolism, or blood clots in the veins. It used to be thought that the sole cause of this risk was the estrogen in the pills, but in the mid-1990s, two large case-control studies, the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborative Study of Cardiovascular Disease and Steroid Hormone Contraception, and the Transnational Study on Oral Contraceptives and the Health of Young Women — together studying over 6,300 women across the world — found that so-called “third-generation” oral contraceptives (like NuvaRing) had twice or more the risk of blood clotting injuries like pulmonary embolisms. Indeed, by the time NuvaRing went on the market, more than 80% of the studies performed found that same increased risk.
Despite the risk, the manufacturer of NuvaRing, Organon and Merck Pharmaceuticals, charged onward, and aggressively marketed the device — without even making clear on its label that the drug was clearly more dangerous than other options. In 2006, a petition was filed with the FDA to ban third-generation oral contraceptives containing desogestrel, like NuvaRing, entirely, but the FDA hasn’t acted on it. Instead, Merck sponsored a clinical trial which the company said was meant:
[T]o characterize and compare the risks of short- and long-term use of NuvaRing® with marketed combined [oral contraceptives]. The main clinical outcomes of interest for the short and long-term follow-up are:
- Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT)
- Pulmonary Embolism (PE)
- Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI)
- Cerebrovascular Accidents (CVA)
Tellingly, Merck has referenced the data from that clinical trial when responding to patient advocates who want NuvaRing to have a stronger, “black box” warning (or to have it removed from the market), but Merck has not made the actual clinical data public, nor have they published their conclusions in a peer reviewed scientific or medical journal. Subsequent scientific research has confirmed what we already knew: NuvaRing is at least twice as likely to cause serious blood clots, like DVTs, and thus injuries like pulmonary embolism, even death. A study published late 2011 in the British Medical Journal confirmed the link again, as did a meta-study in 2012 that reviewed over two dozen other studies.
NuvaRing Lawsuits Are Drawing Closer To First Negligence Trials, And Thus Potentially Settlements
More than 700 women had filed lawsuits over NuvaRing injuries and deaths, and the first “bellwether trials” — i.e., trials of a handful of cases to get a sense of how the cases fare in front of juries — are schedule to take place later this year. There are two main groups of the litigation: consolidated “multi-district” litigation in federal court in Missouri, and consolidated “mass tort” litigation in state court in New Jersey, where Merck is headquartered.
We can’t and we won’t guarantee any result. That’s unethical, and it’s untrue: no lawyer can guarantee any result in a lawsuit. But if history is any guide, then Merck will start discussing the possibility of settlement around the time the bellwether trials start taking place. In the nationwide Yaz / Yasmin / Ocella litigation, for example, all of the cases have been frozen pending extended settlement discussions under the guidance of a mediator. Other nationwide drug litigation, like the Vioxx cases a decade ago, started to settle after the first few bellwhether trials were conducted.
Let Us Put Our Over Fifty Years Of Experience To Work For You
Since 1958, The Beasley Firm has fought for injured patients and consumers, recovering over $2 billion for our clients through hundreds of multi-million dollar settlements and jury verdicts. Defective medical device and dangerous drug cases are some of the hardest and most expensive cases to win, in part because of recent Supreme Court rulings that have sharply curtailed the types of claims injured patients can bring.
Merck has not admitted any wrongdoing in the patient lawsuits, and has vowed to fight the cases, primarily by arguing that the science behind the studies showing a risk are flawed, and that their clinical trial is superior. Further developments, such as pre-trial rulings and the release of the clinical trial data, will further reveal how likely it is that Merck will be held liable. Patients may be able to obtain settlements from the company, but only after their cases are thoroughly investigated and prepared by their attorneys, given the difficulty of winning any prescription drug or medical device case.
For more than fifty years The Beasley Firm has taken on complicated and difficult cases like the NuvaRing blood clot litigation. If you or a loved one developed any type of embolism or blood clot while on NuvaRing, contact our pharmaceutical liability lawyers for a confidential, no-obligation consultation by filling out our online contact form or by calling The Beasley Firm’s main line at (888) 823-5291.