Plaintiff’s lawyers are meeting in Las Vegas this week to determine whether enough claimants opted in on a $100 million settlement offered by Merck & Co. for its contraceptive NuvaRing, which has been linked to life threatening blood clots.
Under the agreement, 95 percent of the estimated 3,800 claimants must opt in. The average payment would be about $58,000, however each claim would be reviewed by attorneys using a formula that adds points based on injuries, and subtracts points for those who are smokers or who are underweight.
Lawyers representing women who have filed NuvaRing lawsuits against Merck & Co. say they are optimistic a settlement will be reached.
NuvaRing is a flexible plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina once a month to prevent pregnancy. It is marketed as a more convenient birth control method than oral contraceptives.
In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers that women who used NuvaRing were at greater risk for developing blood clots, some of which could be fatal. The NuvaRing lawsuits allege the device maker did not adequately warn of the heightened risk for blood clots, including pulmonary embolisms and deep vein thrombosis.
In March 2009, NuvaRing was declared a mass tort by the New Jersey Supreme Court and lawsuits were consolidated. The first trial was scheduled for this month but was put on hold due to the settlement.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs say the NuvaRing agreement is too small and point to the $1 billion settlement Bayer made with women who suffered blood clots after using its birth control pills Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella. Average settlements in that case were estimated at about $200,000.
Source: NJ Law Journal