German multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company, Bayer AG, has announced it will resolve 90 percent of Essure lawsuits with a $1.6 billion settlement. Since 2013, thousands of women have filed lawsuits against Bayer, claiming that the Essure birth control device was defective and was responsible for their injuries. The Essure settlement payout was expected after Bayer announced in early August 2020 that $1.47 billion would be allocated to end the defective birth control lawsuits.
While the announcement is welcomed news for injured patients, Bayer says that it is not an admission of liability and claims that Essure is a safe product. According to Bayer’s statement, the company wants this settlement to remove the “distractions and uncertainties associated with this litigation”.
Thousands of Lawsuits Filed Over Essure
In California alone, around 27,000 Essure lawsuits are pending. Thousands more lawsuits are pending in other courts across the nation. Essure trials were set to begin earlier this year in Oakland, CA state court, but they have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bayer’s annual report for 2019, reported approximately 33,100 Essure lawsuits filed in the U.S. as of February 6, 2020, in the United States. By August 21, 2020, the number of lawsuits filed increased to 39,000. The personal injury claims that Bayer faces in these lawsuits are:
- Weight gain
- Nickel sensitivity
- Unwanted pregnancy
- Compensatory and punitive damages
Fidelma Fitzpatrick, head attorney for a group of consolidated Essure cases in California, is glad to hear of the Essure settlement and was fully prepared to allow juries to make this decision. Fitzpatrick says that thousands of women have suffered physically, emotionally, and financially for far too long without justice and compensation. She also mentions that the settlement “would provide expedited relief to thousands of women”.
What’s Wrong With Essure?
Some of the health problems associated with Essure are due to the nickel-titanium alloys in the inserts. Nickel is a common allergen and can cause dermatitis. Once the inserts are placed in the body, they release nickel into the fallopian tubes, and patients who are allergic to nickel may have severe allergic reactions.
Some of the allergic reactions reported include:
In addition to allergic reactions, women have claimed that Essure has been defectively designed and may fracture or move within the body, thus puncturing a woman’s uterus or fallopian tubes. Many were forced to have the device surgically removed. Anyone who is currently using Essure should be made aware of the severe dangers that this product poses. People could face serious side effects that prove detrimental.
Essure Removed From Market
At the start of the 2000s, the FDA approved Essure for use and it passed through the agency’s Premarket Approval Process. This process involves rigorous clinical testing to determine if a product is ready for the market, however, the validity of the testing for Essure remains in question. Bayer bought the company that created Essure, Conceptus Inc., in 2013 for $1.2 billion. In September 2015, the FDA held a meeting with the Obstetrics and Gynecology Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee to review scientific and clinical opinions and patient experiences with the birth control device. After the committee meetings and public comments, the FDA ordered Bayer to conduct a post-market surveillance study to evaluate Essure’s benefits and risks.
Due to the high number of reported adverse reactions to Essure, the FDA ordered Bayer to include a black box warning on Essure in November 2016. According to Bloomberg, about 38,000 individual Essure lawsuits claim Bayer failed to report complaints from patients to the FDA. Had the patient complaints been reported to the FDA appropriately, the agency could have implemented a black box warning as early as 2006.
In 2014, Essure patients decided to take matters into their own hands by launching a social media campaign to have regulators remove Essure from the market. Despite their efforts, it wasn’t until July 20th, 2018, that Bayer announced it would stop selling Essure.
After removing Essure from the market, Bayer said in a statement that their decision was solely based on the decline in sales and lack of product sustainability. The company mentioned nothing about how thousands of injured women have been suffering because of the defective birth control device and Bayer maintained that “the safety and efficacy of Essure have not changed”.
Bayer Faces Litigation For Several Products
Bayer has been facing numerous lawsuits over other products such as their Roundup weedkiller, which resulted in a $400 million settlement agreement to resolve lawsuits and Dicamba herbicide, which resulted in another $400 million settlement agreement to end lawsuits. Local governments and Bayer came to an $820 million settlement agreement to resolve claims that Monsanto contaminated waterways, a company acquired by Bayer in 2018. Bayer’s investors are unhappy with the company’s legal issues, as Bayer’s shares have decreased by over 30% since the Monsanto acquisition closed in June 2018.
The litigation Bayer has faced in recent years has caused significant financial losses. According to the company’s 2020 First Quarter Statement, expenses connected with Bayer Essure settlements and litigation helped cause their earnings to decline by 7.9%. The company will suffer even more negative financial impacts as the Essure settlement deal is paid out.
Is Your Law Firm Looking to Help Essure Plaintiffs?
News of this settlement will encourage more women injured by Essure to search for legal representation and Broughton Partners wants to help your law firm find them. Broughton Partners has developed a unique client acquisition service for personal injury and mass tort law firms. Our team of legal experts and marketers work effectively to channel potential clients to attorneys exactly when needed. Our methods ensure that your law firm will only receive qualified Essure claimants that match your case specifications.
Your law firm can help more Essure plaintiffs take legal action against negligent corporations that continue to disregard patient safety by manufacturing and distributing defective medical devices.
Rather than focusing your law firm’s valuable time and attention on pursuing dead-end leads, let the Broughton Partners team use proven skills and strategies to bring you qualified, signed retainers.
Give us a call at (912) 304-4444 for your free consultation.