Pharmaceutical liability attorneys like me have followed litigation over NuvaRing, a form of birth control, closely since it first emerged as an issue. NuvaRing is a type of hormonal birth control that is inserted rather than swallowed in pill form; it has to be changed only once a month. Unfortunately, users—and scientists—have found that it carries a slightly increased risk of blood clots compared to pills. That’s the basis for a lawsuit filed in Philadelphia against Schering-Plough and Organon Pharmaceuticals, according to the Pennsylvania Record. Wilma Romelien alleges that NuvaRing changed her life for the worse by landing her in the hospital with a blood clot in her sinuses and internal bleeding. So many lawsuits like this have been filed that a federal multidistrict litigation case has been created in eastern Missouri.
Romelien used NuvaRing for seven years before she was diagnosed in 2012 with venous sinus thrombosis and an intracranial hemorrhage. Because a blood clot is a medical emergency, she is claiming damages for the medical care required. Now, her lawsuit claims, she is on a regimen of Coumadin (warfarin) that requires frequent monitoring, and expects to need medical monitoring for the rest of her life. Her lawsuit alleged that the defendants were aware that NuvaRing posed more of a blood clot risk than oral contraceptives, but failed to fully disclose them to patients, doctors or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Nor did the company adequately study NuvaRing, it says, because the safety data it presented to the FDA was based on users of the pill. As a result, Romelien is claiming damages for disability, impairment, lost earnings, pain, suffering and mental anguish.
This is just one of the hundreds of lawsuits arguing that NuvaRing injured one of its patients. The multidistrict litigation in St. Louis federal court has 575 cases, according to its website; many more are pending in state courts around the country. The court hearing the MDL has chosen eight “bellwether” cases to go to trial; no start date for this is currently scheduled. Their allegations are supported by recent research, including an FDA study that found a 56% increase in the risk of blood clots for women using NuvaRing rather than combination birth control pills. Another study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that combined hormonal devices like NuvaRing raised the risk of heart attacks and strokes compared to other forms of hormonal birth control. These will undoubtedly be important evidence when cases like Romelien’s go to trial.
The defective drug lawyers at Carey, Danis & Lowe represent clients who suffered serious injuries or illness, or lost a family member, because of a medicine they thought would help them. That includes women who were injured by birth control and families that lost a daughter, sister, wife or mother who was trying to do what was best for her family. Blood clots are a known risk of all types of birth control—but if Romelien’s allegations are true, the manufacturer of NuvaRing failed to obtain or covered up important comparative risk information that could have influenced thousands of women’s choices between it and conventional pills. When manufacturers fail to warn patients about serious safety risks, our dangerous drug attorneys help patients hold them financially responsible for all of the injuries that might result—physical, financial and emotional.