Merck & Co. has agreed to pay $100 million to settle thousands lawsuits alleging the company’s contraceptive device NuvaRing caused life-threatening blood clots. The only caveat is that at least 95 percent of the eligible complainants must opt into the agreement otherwise no payouts will be made, a federal judge ruled. The deadline is March 10.
U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel called the settlement “a fair resolution of this litigation.” There are about 3,800 eligible participants in the settlement agreement, which includes more than 1,850 state and federal lawsuits as well as claims that have yet to be filed.
NuvaRing is a flexible plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina each month to prevent pregnancy. It releases a small amount of hormone to prevent ovulation. It is manufactured by Organon, a subsidiary of Merck & Co.
Plaintiffs allege the device caused blood clots, some of which were fatal. The lawsuits claim that Organon did not properly design the device and that it did not adequately disclose or warn doctors or patients of the potential risks associated with the device.
Attorneys for some of the plaintiffs say they are concerned that the $100 million settlement offer may not be enough to cover the pain and suffering endured by those affected. They referenced the $1.6 billion settlement Bayer AG agreed to pay to settle blood clot lawsuits involving its birth control pills Yaz and Yasmin.
Source: The Register Guard