Rachel Lietzke Payne began using the contraceptive device NuvaRing, when she was a 20-year-old college student back in 2008. NuvaRing caught Payne’s eye because unlike birth control pills, which have to be taken every day, NuvaRing is inserted into the vagina and removed once each month- and is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.
In October of 2010, Payne met her father for lunch. Upon leaving the restaurant with her father, Payne instantly felt sick and began to spit up chunks of blood onto the cement. She was rushed to the hospital, and spent ten long days being injected with anticoagulants to thin out her blood. Payne was diagnosed with having a blood clot in her lung, a diagnosis that could have been fatal.
Payne explains that, “It took them a while to figure out that my blood was clotting, because I was 22 at the time.” Payne is now 25 years old, a wife, and mother to a toddler son. Since she was a nonsmoker, in shape, and had no family history of blood clots, doctors had a difficult time determining the cause of her illness. Eventually they learned the cause: the NuvaRing.
Today more than 1,000 women, including Payne, are suing Merck & Co.—the pharmaceutical company that manufactures the birth control product— in a federal district court in Missouri. They are claiming that the company’s product caused them to suffer from painful blood clots (in a few cases, deadly ones), a risk which they say they were not adequately warned about.
These suits are the latest filed regarding fairly expensive legal complaints over numerous contraceptives that have come into the market in the past 10 years. Thousands of women have sued Ortho Evra Patch, pointing to studies that have shown a higher blood clot risk compared to tradition birth control pills. Since 2012, over 10,000 lawsuits have been filed against the company Bayer, the makers of Yaz and Yasmin birth control pills. The company has set aside more than 1.5 billion dollars to settle claims against them.
Plaintiffs in the NuvaRing cases allege that it is not just the hormone in the device that caused their blood aggregations, but also the delivery type. Unlike other forms of contraceptives, NuvaRing releases hormones directly into the bloodstream. An expert witness for the plaintiff argues this method could cause “spikes” of hormones that make women more sensitive to blood clotting.
The plaintiffs in the NuvaRing cases also allege Merck did not sufficiently test or properly label the NuvaRing product to warn of these serious risks. Merck has responded, saying the company assures that their product is safe and they have followed the U.S. FDA guidelines for its packaging and labeling.
“We are confident the company has provided appropriate and timely information about NuvaRing to consumers and the medical, scientific and regulatory communities,” stated Lainie Keller, a spokeswoman for Merck. “We remain confident in the efficacy and safety profile of NuvaRing, and will continue to always act in the best interest of patients.”
“That’s what all these drug companies say,” said Roger Denton, a plaintiff’s attorney for a NuvaRing claim. “’It’s good enough for the FDA, that’s the end of the story.’ But according to our law, that doesn’t matter. The jury decides.”
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA is a Clearwater based serious injury law firm. Our injury law attorneys have represented a long list of individuals who have suffered critical and/or fatal injuries. Our goal remains to punish the wrongdoers of safety rules.
We offer a free consultation and will gladly explain how a claim against a manufacturer works, the facts of your accident and scope of our representation. For more information, please call Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA at: (833) 606-DRUG  or email us at: [email protected]