High-profile campaigns to ban Essure, a permanent birth control implant manufactured by Bayer, have stirred the hearts and consciences of women and men across the country. Patients from every walk of life say they chose Essure because it promised to safely, effectively prevent pregnancy, only to learn that the small metal implants may be the cause of severe side effects. But within this whirlwind of controversy, Bayer stands relatively unscathed.
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Denying every claim of wrongdoing, and maintaining that Essure is both safe and effective, the German company is currently shielded from legal responsibility. In fact, it remains unclear whether Bayer will ever face any legal consequences for selling the device, which many critics say threatens women’s lives.
Have Any Women Filed Essure Lawsuits?
Yes, but they face significant legal hurdles.
Several women have filed lawsuits against Bayer, the German pharmaceutical company and current manufacturer of Essure. Though their complaints contain damning allegations, many of which are at least partially supported by FDA reports, whether or not these lawsuits will ever see trial is still in doubt. Bayer is currently shielded from product liability lawsuits over Essure, because the device went through a special approval process designed for “high-risk” medical devices.
How Pre-Market Approval Is Protecting Essure
The approval process, known as “Pre-Market Approval,” is particularly “stringent,” according to the Food & Drug Administration. In part, because the regulatory review is so rigorous, the Supreme Court believes device manufacturers, like Bayer, should be protected from liability in state courts. Lawsuits involving these high-risk medical products are “pre-empted,” effectively invalidated because an agency of the federal government found the devices to be safe and effective.
Those current restrictions are unfortunate, since filing an Essure lawsuit may be the only way for patients to recover compensation for their injuries. Women say the Essure implants can break or migrate to other parts of the body, causing severe chronic pain and in some cases, requiring emergency surgical intervention. Suffering from numerous alleged side effects, some patients have even been forced to undergo a hysterectomy. But the government’s current stance on Pre-Market Approval prevents them from pursuing compensation.
Will Bayer Lose Its “Legal Shield”?
Women are fighting back, though. In their lawsuits, several patients have argued that Essure’s Pre-Market Approval (PMA) should be invalidated.
Heather Walsh, who says she had to undergo a hysterectomy after the Essure implant migrated to her uterus, claims Bayer failed to submit numerous side effect reports to the US Food & Drug Administration. In her complaint, Walsh says Bayer received 144 reports of device perforation, in which an Essure device broke through an internal organ, but only sent 22 of those reports on to the FDA. The company also hid over 16,000 patient complaints from the agency, Walsh claims, in direct violation of the FDA’s guidelines for “high-risk” medical device approval.
Only time will tell whether these allegations stand up under scrutiny, but if they do, Bayer’s PMA could be thrown out. That would open the door for thousands of women who believe Essure caused them suffering to file their own suits.
Breaking Essure Lawsuit News
By Michael Monheit, Esq.
July 1st, 2020 – Indiana Supreme Court Rules Against Appellate Court’s Previous Ruling in Favor of Victims
The Supreme Court of the state of Indiana has ruled that the 36 individual women who were previously permitted to bring forth legal claims against Bayer have now been halted. The State’s highest court stated that the validity of each individual claim had not been scrutinized by the appellate court, and therefore the victim’s claims were disallowed.
Earlier this month, the state Supreme Court also ruled that as many as 160 out-of-state residents would not be able to pursue claims against Bayer for injuries, disease, or death resulting from the use of the Essure birth control device. The reasoning for the ruling was reserved to the fact that the Court could not exercise any kind of jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant, which in this case in the device’s manufacturer, Bayer.
June 2nd, 2020 – Essure Lawsuits in Indiana may Proceed, Rules Appeals Court
More than 30 individual women who bravely stepped forth with claims against pharmaceutical giant Bayer have been granted a motion to move ahead with the lawsuits over the Essure birth control device.
In their motion to dismiss the legal claims made by the victims, Bayer indicated that the plaintiffs made “only a cursory effort to describe the manufacturing defects” of the birth control device they had implanted and which had reportedly caused significant health issues for them. Moreover, Bayer argued that the victim’s claims were preempted by federal law. Ultimately, the Indiana Court of Appeals differed with the drug company’s claims and permitted the Essure lawsuits to continue progressing through the state justice system.
May 14th, 2020 – More Than 15,000 Essure Reports Filed in 2019
As of April 24th, the US FDA released an update on the total count of adverse event reports related to Essure. More than 15,000 new cases were added to the list, a number that is significantly larger than 2018’s 6,000 reports. These cases are also in addition to the more than 18,000 legal disputes which deal with Essure and which the device’s manufacturer, Bayer, must deal with.
The specific study, which encompasses data from the year 2002, can be referenced on the FDAs page, ‘Problems Reported with Essure’
April 22nd, 2020 – Medical Study Finds Essure Implants May Be Degrading Over Time
A research study completed by French researchers found that particles from the tin solder of Essure implants could be scattering in the patients whom they inhabit. The study looked at 10 patients ages 42-53 who had the Essure implant for an average of 86 months before they had to undergo a hysterectomy or salpingectomy.
Fallopian tube and uterine horn biopsies from these patients were then analyzed with a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and were found to contain abnormal concentrations of inorganic tin particles. While it is not clear if there is a direct relationship between the degradation of the Essure device and adverse health effects in patients, the researchers did consider their findings to be of concern, given the fact that the Essure contraceptive implant is intended to remain in the body for the rest of the patient’s life.
March 10th, 2020 – New Jersey Essure Case Won By Bayer On Appeal
A case that was originally tried in 2018 has been dismissed with prejudice in an appeals court. According to the appeals court ruling, the plaintiff, a woman who had the Essure metal coils implanted in 2014, made a manufacturing defect claim that was “comprised of mere bald assertions”.
Although this loss is upsetting for both the plaintiff and the thousands of women fighting for justice, this does not mean that all lawsuits will be lost.
January 31st, 2020 – FDA Announces Applications For Essure Post Market Study Are Closed
According to the FDA, the enrollment period for the post-market Essure study has closed. The FDA has directed Bayer, the manufacturer of Essure, to extend the study from three to five years, hoping that additional information on the side effects of the implant can be obtained. The administration has indicated that they will post occasional updates throughout the study.
December 11th, 2019 – Judge May Make Some Essure Documents Public
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Winifred Smith has made the decision to partially lift a protective order that covers documents that pertain to the Essure mass tort. Documents that will be made public include internal company documents, reports submitted to the FDA, and annual reports made to the FDA.
November 21st, 2019 – Essure Patients Speak At FDA Hearing
Some Essure patients have joined other patients with metal implants in their body to testify in front of FDA officials about the devastating effects these implants have had on the body. Patients hope that by sharing their stories, the FDA will create stricter guidelines when it comes to approving medical devices like Essure, forcing companies to do extensive testing on each product.
September 11th, 2019 – Bayer Must Face Illinois State Court Essure Complaints
An Illinois court has ruled that Bayer must face an Essure lawsuit filed in the Illinois state court by a total of 18 women. The drug company attempted to have the suit dismissed, alleging that the legal complaint lacked in both general and specific jurisdiction. This essentially means that Bayer was claiming that the State of Illinois did not have the power to force the drug company to appear in court and also did not have the authority to hear the cases. However, the court sided with the plaintiffs who argued that since the company had business transactions in the state and also made fraudulent claims in the state, the Illinois court was an appropriate location.
July 3rd, 2010 – The FDA Releases Millions Of Secret Reports
Over 6 million adverse reaction reports have been released by the FDA. These reports, which span decades, show that medical device makers were allowed to give secret reports to the FDA about issues with their product. The FDA now says this practice is ending and this is why they have released the prior reports.
April 5th, 2019 – Bayer Must Face Claims It Attempted To Have Tossed
A federal judge in Philadelphia ruled that six of twelve claims that Bayer attempted to have tossed will move forward with the litigation. Bayer had attempted to say that the statute of limitations applied and therefore the women who filed them could not seek compensation, but the judge disagreed. The judge stated that the women could not have known that it was Essure that may have accused their health issues because Bayer failed to inform them of the risks.
March 22nd, 2019 – Court Determine Bayer Must Face Stillbirth Lawsuit
A North Carolina woman will be allowed to move forward with her lawsuit, filed against Bayer, alleging that she became pregnant and her child subsequently died because of Essure. In 2015, the plaintiff elected to have Essure inserted to prevent pregnancy. Despite this, she still became pregnant and at around 24 weeks, suddenly went into labor, delivering a stillborn child. She alleges that the company was already aware of the issues with the medical device before she had it implanted.
February 22, 2019 – Essure Lawsuit Filings Hit 18,000
Over 18,000 women have filed Essure lawsuits against Bayer, accusing the German multinational of concealing the birth control implant’s risks from the public. Despite its decision to remove Essure from the US market, Bayer continues to face increasing legal pressure from civil lawsuits filed across the nation. Over the last 20 years, more than 750,000 women have opted to receive Essure, a controversial contraceptive device linked to severe and chronic pain, abnormal menstruation, severe menstrual cramps, painful intercourse and other debilitating side effects. Thankfully, the birth control implant, which tens of thousands of women claim was defective from the start, is no longer available. Bayer has stopped selling and distributing the contraceptive device around the globe.
To learn more about the latest filings, click here.
January 10, 2019 – FDA Announces Updated Requirements For Long-Term Essure Study
The US Food & Drug Administration has released updated guidelines for a post-marketing study of Essure, hoping to bolster the strength of long-term safety data on the controversial birth control device. Among the changes, Bayer has been instructed to lengthen the period of patient follow-up from 3 to 5 years. Mandatory blood testing will also be performed to track markers of inflammation. The test results are designed to assess the possibility of adverse immune reactions to Essure, as well as the role increased inflammation could play in other side effects reported around the device. Bayer has also been told to provide the FDA with more frequent reports on the study’s progress.
In a press release, the FDA wrote, “Following Essure’s removal from the market, the FDA is committed to continuing to monitor women who have the device implanted. In addition to the post-market surveillance study, the agency will continue its efforts to monitor Essure’s safety and effectiveness since its approval in 2002 by reviewing the medical literature, clinical trial information, post-approval study data and medical device reports submitted to the agency.” For more details, see Verdict Medical Devices.
December 6, 2018 – Guardian Features Essure Survivors In New Medical Device Series
A growing number of women are speaking out about the dangers and complications of Essure, Bayer’s now-withdrawn birth control implant. In a series of news stories, Essure patients are taking center stage, describing the severe pain and other side effects they experienced after being implanted with the two coiled devices. And media outlets are finally starting to listen. Just two weeks ago, the Guardian launched a new series on the medical device implant space, no doubt inspired in part by The Bleeding Edge, a Netflix-produced documentary laying bare the perverse incentives at work in the industry.
“The manufacturers of Essure, a permanent contraceptive, have been withdrawing it from markets around the world after reports of problems from thousands of women,” the Guardian writes, before highlighting the very real stories of Allison Harding, Charlotte, Jan Faulkner and Andrea Davies, all of whom received Essure implants and experienced dramatic and life-altering side effects. Harding, 39, opted for Essure because it was sold as a non-invasive choice, but soon began to experience debilitating lower back and pelvic pain. Ultimately, she underwent a hysterectomy. The pain has been gone ever since.
Charlotte had a similar experience, experiencing severe pain (“the worst pains of my life”) after receiving what she hoped would be a “miracle” implant. Like Harding, Charlotte has now undergone a surgical procedure to remove the implant.
November 7, 2018 – More Than 80 Central California Women File New Essure Lawsuit
More than 80 women have joined a new lawsuit against Bayer, accusing the company of concealing the risks of Essure, a controversial birth control implant pulled from the US market earlier this year, according to KSBY. Filing their suit on October 31, 2018 at the San Luis Obispo County Courthouse, the women will join over 16,000 other plaintiffs who say Bayer downplayed Essure’s complications while marketing a defective medical device.
“It was marketed as a very minimally invasive procedure that would allow these women to have the convenience of permanent birth control,” says Breanne Cope, Esq., an attorney representing the 80 women, “but it caused some horrible and debilitating side effects for some women.” The plaintiffs in the case name a litany of devastating complications, including hair loss, anemia, chronic pain, autoimmune disorders and unintended pregnancy.
“The device can also migrate,” Cope continued, “so it can leave the fallopian tube where it’s intended to stay and migrate to different organs and pierce the uterus.” Following widespread public outcry, Bayer has now pulled Essure from the global market. The medical device is no longer available anywhere in the world. Bayer says its decision to withdraw Essure from the global market was made for “business” reasons. The company maintains that Essure has a positive risk-benefit profile. Needless to say, many women disagree.
October 11, 2018 – Essure Injury Advocates Push International Boycott Bayer Week
The advocates from Essure Problems have wrapped up International Boycott Bayer Week, an initiative run from September 17, 2018 to September 21, 2018. Women across the world were urged to avoid Bayer-made products, from Afrin and Claritin to Midol and Miralax. The effort comes on the heels of a new Netflix documentary, The Bleeding Edge, that detailed the myriad ways medical device manufacturers profit from human suffering. The documentary features a number of Essure injury victims, including Essure Problems founder Angie Firmalino. To find more on the story, click here.
September 21, 2018 – Australian Women File Essure Class Action Against Bayer
Australian women are joining a new Essure class action by the dozens, joining forces to take Bayer on for manufacturing and marketing a medical device they say causes severe injuries. As of this writing, Bayer faces about 16,000 personal injury lawsuits over Essure in the United States. Essure was withdrawn from the Australian market on September 30, 2017; Bayer cited “business” reasons, saying demand for the controversial medical device had plummeted. Now, attorneys in Australia are asking women to step forward and join a growing class action that accuses Bayer of concealing the serious safety risks of Essure for years. To learn more about the lawsuit, click here.
August 15, 2018 – Bayer Pays Millions To Doctors Who Promote Essure
A CNN exclusive investigation shows that Bayer has paid millions of dollars to doctors for Essure-related consulting services. While legal, the payments raise serious ethical questions about what, exactly, Bayer was purchasing from these physicians, many of whom were contracted to instruct other doctors on Essure implantation methods. Many doctors, like Dr. Cindy Basinski, who has received at least $168,068 in Essure-related funding from Bayer, say the payments don’t affect their prescribing decisions. But patients describe the physicians as “cheerleaders” for Bayer, going out of their way to push the implants on unsuspecting patients. Essure will no longer be available in the United States by the end of the year.
July 20, 2018 – E-Sisters Rally Outside Bayer Headquarters In Support of Essure Recall
E-Sisters joined forces together outside Bayer’s Whippany, New Jersey headquarters to hold a day-long protest against the continued sale of Essure in the United States. Inviting Bayer employees to join them, the advocates screened a pre-release version of The Bleeding Edge, a new Netflix documentary on the $400 billion medical industry that features the experiences of several Essure Problems members.
June 29, 2018 – Connecticut Ends State Medicaid Coverage Of Essure Implants
Connecticut is delisting Essure from its roster of compensable medical procedures. The decision means that Connecticut’s Medical Assistance Program (covering the state’s Medicaid and CHIP programs) will no longer reimburse health care providers for purchasing or implanting Essure implants. The news was announced by Essure Problems, which obtained a copy of Connecticut’s June 2018 Policy Update.
May 21, 2018 – Kentucky Judge Remands Three-Plaintiff Essure Lawsuit To State Court
A federal judge in Kentucky has sent one Essure lawsuit, representing the claims of three injured women, back to state court, ruling on April 23, 2018 that the cases don’t raise any substantial questions of federal law. In her court order, HarrisMartin reports, Chief Judge Karen Caldwell of the US District Court for Eastern Kentucky also ruled that the plaintiffs additional claims, many of which are leveled against their medical professionals, could move forwards.
April 10, 2018 – FDA Announces “Unique” Regulation On Essure, Limiting Sales To Doctors Who Disclose Risks
The FDA has announced unprecedented restrictions on the sale and distribution of Essure. Following up on the agency’s heightened warnings, doctors who hope to purchase and use the birth control implant will now be required, at risk of strict civil and criminal penalties, to inform potential patients of the device’s risks.
It’s now mandatory for physicians to review a packet of risk information with their patients before implanting the device – and Bayer has been left with the responsibility of ensuring that health care providers follow through on the new regulation. Agency Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., who held meetings with leaders from the Essure Problems movement in February, has called the restrictions “unique” in the FDA’s history. The agency generally shies away from telling individual doctors how to run their practices. To learn more about the regulations, read our in-depth post at this link.
March 8, 2018 – FDA Commissioner Reiterates Support For Essure In Personal Memo
One day before International Women’s Day, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, chief at the US Food & Drug Administration, issued a personal memo updating patients and health advocates of the federal agency’s Essure safety review. In his letter, Gottlieb notes that the FDA received nearly 12,000 new Essure side effect reports in 2017, 90% of which refer to the potential for invasive device removal procedures. At the same time, Gottlieb says that the agency’s position on Essure is unchanged. “The FDA continues to believe that Essure may be appropriate for some women based on our current information,” the FDA commissioner wrote. To find more on the story, click here.
February 1, 2018 – Disputed New Study Finds Mixed Results On Essure Safety, Efficacy
A controversial new study out of France has found mixed results on the safety of Essure. Comparing women who underwent hysteroscopic sterilization to those who received the traditional sterilization method of tubal ligation, researchers found an increase in gynecological complications (including sterilization failure) among Essure patients, but a lower risk for surgical problems. To learn more, read our post here.
January 5, 2018 – Essure Plaintiffs Lose Jurisdiction Battle In Missouri Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of Missouri has ruled against a group of Essure lawsuit patients, saying a lower court erred in allowing the cases of 85 out-of-state plaintiffs to proceed in St. Louis. According to a unanimous decision on December 19, 2017, the out-of-state patients will need to provide more evidence of Bayer’s business activities in Missouri to establish appropriate jurisdiction in the State. The multi-plaintiff case has been remanded to a lower court, where plaintiffs say they intend to introduce an amended complaint to buttress their arguments. For more on the story, click here.
December 11, 2017 – Missouri Essure Lawsuit Survives On Appeal
On December 5, 2017, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District upheld the claims of a 33-year-old woman who says she underwent a hysterectomy after receiving Essure implants and experiencing severe pain. X-ray tests, the woman claims, found that one of her implants had broken apart and pierced her uterus. A lower State Court had ruled that the woman’s allegations of negligence and product liability were preempted by federal law. To find more on the woman’s lawsuit, follow this link.
November 8, 2017 – State Reps Say FDA Is Allowing Bayer To “Drag Its Feet” On Essure
In a new letter to the FDA Commissioner, three Democratic members of Congress question the federal agency’s response to Essure side effect reports. While FDA experts in 2016 ordered Bayer to conduct a long-term study on the contraceptive implant’s side effects, only 1 patient has been enrolled in the study to date, the State Representatives report. “It is unclear whether Bayer has acted with urgency,” they write, adding that “the FDA cannot continue to allow Bayer to drag its feet.” To learn more about this story, click here.
October 11, 2017 – Essure Distribution & Sales To End In All Countries, Except The US
In an announcement released on September 18, 2017, global health care conglomerate Bayer says Essure will no longer be available in every country, except for the United States. To find our full coverage of the story, follow this link.
September 6, 2017 – Australia Recalls Essure After Bayer Pulls Device Off Market
Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration has issued a full recall of Essure implants, saying “there will be no further implantations of Essure in Australia.” The recall comes fast on the heels of Bayer’s decision to discontinue Essure sales in the country, a move spurred, the company says, by “business reasons.” To learn more about the recall, click here.
August 8, 2017 – European Union Member States Recall Essure Implants For 3-Month Ban
Ireland’s top health regulator has allowed Essure’s commercial license to lapse, revoking Bayer’s right to distribute and sell the implants throughout the European Union for at least the next three months. Many of the Union’s 28 member states, including France and Ukraine, have already instructed Bayer to recall the contraceptive devices. The ban on Essure sales is scheduled to end on November 2, 2017, although new insights from Ireland’s investigation may change that.
July 20, 2017 – Brazil Allows Essure Sales & Distribution To Resume
The Brazilian government’s ban on Essure sales and distribution has been lifted, according to a report from MedicalXpress. Anvisa, Brazil’s national health agency, halted imports and distribution of the birth control implant in February, saying the device’s manufacturer, Bayer, had failed to provide the department with adequate safety data. Now, representatives at Anvisa have told reporters that Essure distribution will begin anew in Brazil, having received the results from a number of multi-year clinical trials.
June 12, 2017 – End To Essure Sales Looms In UK, Finland, Netherlands
Global healthcare giant Bayer intends to withdraw its contraceptive device Essure from three countries: Finland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. In less than a month, Essure implants will no longer be distributed or sold in these European markets:
- United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) – September 1, 2017
- Finland – June 25, 2017
The date on which Bayer will discontinue Essure sales in the Netherlands has not yet been reported. The company blames the series of withdrawals on Essure’s market performance, not the growing public concern over the birth control implant’s link to severe side effects. Declining sales, rather than patient harm, seem to have forced Bayer’s hand, according to Legal Reader.
May 3, 2017 – FDA Sheds Light On New Essure Injury Statistics
In its ongoing effort to monitor the potential side effects of Essure, the US Food & Drug Administration has updated its official website with adverse event report statistics for 2016.
Through that year, the federal agency received 5,019 reports of side effects and complications associated with the birth control implants, a decrease of over 1,000 reports from the previous year. The reports remain consistent, the FDA says, with 10,746 filed in relation to pain and 5,377 filed for menstrual abnormalities. The update’s most shocking finding, however, pertains to the number of pregnancies experienced by women who rely on Essure as contraceptive. The agency has received notice of 1,113 pregnancies in patients with Essure, including at least 474 pregnancy losses.
At least 38 deaths have now been linked to the contraceptive implants, although 8 of these reports are being considered erroneous.
April 13, 2017 – Paired With Yasmin Birth Control Lawsuits, Essure Litigation Outstrips Bayer’s Insurance Coverage
Despite protests worldwide, healthcare giant Bayer has yet to remove its birth control implant Essure from the global market. One country – Brazil – has taken matters into its own hands, issuing an immediate suspension on sales, marketing and distribution of the controversial device. Bayer itself, on the other hand, has thus far dismissed the complaints of thousands of women, who blame the contraceptive implants for debilitating side effects.
Recent financial revelations, however, may ultimately sway the company’s decision-making process. According to Bayer’s 2016 Annual Report, litigation expenses and decreases in revenue tied directly to Essure lost the company around $413 million. Bayer’s insurance policies, maintained to protect against losses in civil product liability lawsuits, are also being strained by the growing Essure litigation. In fact, the company now says that legal disputes surrounding two contraceptive products – Essure and the birth control pills Yasmin and Yaz – have outstripped the company’s “available insurance coverage.”
March 17, 2017 – Illinois Essure Lawsuit Will Move Forward Now, Circuit Court Judge Rules
An Illinois state judge has rejected Bayer’s request for a stay of proceedings in an Essure lawsuit filed by more than eight women, according to the Madison – St. Clair Record. Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth denied the company’s motion on February 24, 2017.
In a January court filing, Bayer asked Judge Ruth to pause the legal proceedings, in anticipation of two pending court decisions: Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of California, which the Supreme Court recently accepted for review, and Jeffs v. Ford Motor, a case pending in the Fifth District Appellate Court. Bayer’s defense attorneys argue that judgments in the two cases could have a major impact on whether the women’s lawsuit belongs in Wisconsin at all. The company has long held that, despite conducting substantial business in the State, Essure lawsuits should be transferred elsewhere.
February 15, 2017 – Dutch Women Wait For Essure Removal Procedures
Long waiting lists are beginning to form at hospitals in the Netherlands, Medisch Contact reports, as Dutch women wait to have their Essure permanent birth control implants removed.
In North Brabant, a province in the south of Netherlands, around 150 women have asked local surgeons to remove their implants. “This is a nationwide phenomenon,” a spokesperson for the Dutch Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said. “We heard from several hospitals [that] there is a wait.” An estimated 25,000 to 30,000 women in the Netherlands have chosen Essure as a contraceptive, but side effect complaints are mounting. Medisch Contact says that pain and “psychological symptoms” have been the most frequently-cited adverse reactions.
As we wrote in a previous article, similar bottlenecks in Essure removal have been reported in the United States, where only about 30 physicians have experience performing the complex procedures.
January 19, 2017 – Elizabeth Graham, Esq. Appointed To Leadership Role In California Essure Lawsuit Coordination
BirthControlProblems.com sponsor Elizabeth Graham has been appointed to a committee of lawyers that will guide the course of Essure lawsuits currently coordinated in a California State Court.
On December 21, 2016, Judge Winifred Y. Smith of the Alameda County Superior Court selected Ms. Graham, along with four other plaintiffs’ attorneys, to serve on the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee for the Court’s proceeding 4887, in which dozens of women say the Essure implant caused severe side effects. “We’d like to see these trials get started within a year,” Ms. Graham told Modern Healthcare. She has also been appointed to serve as one of two co-liaison counsels, handling administrative matters for the Court.
December 5, 2016 – Trump Election Sparks Demand For Birth Control
In anticipation of possible changes to American healthcare policy under a President Donald Trump, woman around the country are flooding Planned Parenthood locations for birth control. Appointments scheduled at the reproductive health clinics increased substantially immediately after this year’s presidential election was called. Just three days after the election, appointments for intrauterine devices (IUD) jumped by 900% nationally, reporters at DNA Info say.
Many Planned Parenthood locations offer Essure implants, a controversial form of permanent birth control that has been linked to devastating side effects. No statistics have yet surfaced on whether or not interest in irreversible contraceptive methods has seen a similar spike in interest.
November 14, 2016 – New “Suggested” Black Box Warning For Essure
The US Food & Drug Administration has finalized a set of safety guidelines, including a “black box” warning, for the labeling and usage of Essure birth control implants. The federal agency published its new labeling guidance, which will cover all “permanent hysterescopically-placed tubal implants intended for sterilization,” on October 31, 2016. Included in the advisory document is “suggested” language for a boxed warning that will appear on Essure’s packaging, as well as a “recommended” outline for the patient decision checklist intended to inform and guide doctor-patient conversations about the device.
To learn more about the new Essure safety guidance, read our detailed blog post on the topic here.
October 7, 2016 – Essure Lawsuit Plaintiffs In California Win Coordination Approval
In a motion filed Friday, September 30, 2016, a California state judge has allowed 55 Essure lawsuits to be coordinated. The lawsuits, which represent an estimated 900 women, will soon be brought together in a single court. According to Fierce Biotech, the move will allow “attorneys for the plaintiffs in each case [to] pool their resources.”
This is just one favorable ruling that has come from Judge Winifred Y. Smith of the Superior Court in Alameda County. In August, Judge Smith allowed 11 Essure lawsuits, which had been consolidated themselves, to proceed despite Bayer’s arguments for dismissal.
Elizabeth Graham, an attorney at Grant & Eisenhofer and one of this site’s lead sponsors, hopes that the coordination will bring “a quicker, more efficient, cohesive resolution to all women’s cases in California.” Along with Fidelma Fitzpatrick of law firm Motley & Rice, Graham argued in support of consolidation before Judge Smith on September 30th.
“This is a very favorable development for these injured women,” Graham says. “Having these cases coordinated before a single judge will avoid inconsistent rulings and allow these women to prosecute their claims in a cohesive and unified manner.”
September 27, 2016 – As Essure Lawsuits Gain Speed, Bayer Wins Approval For New IUD
As women continue to file lawsuits over Essure, the controversial birth control implant’s manufacturer has decided once again to step into the contraception market. On September 19, 2016, German healthcare giant Bayer announced that the company’s new intrauterine device – Kyleena – had received FDA approval.
Like most IUDs, Kyleena is a T-shaped piece of plastic that can be inserted in the uterus. Once implanted, Kyleena releases a synthetic hormone known as levonergestrel, believed to thicken the uterine lining and thereby prevent pregnancy. The device is expected to remain effective for up to five years, according to Reuters.
September 19, 2016 – In Idaho, Federal Judge Allows Essure Lawsuit To Proceed
On August 30, 2016, a federal judge for the US District Court of Idaho allowed another Essure lawsuit to move forward.
Essure manufacturer Bayer has long argued that personal injury lawsuits filed over the birth control implant – which are usually based in tenets of state law – should be preempted entirely by federal law. But several recent court decisions have found otherwise. In the most recent ruling, Chief Judge B. Lynn Winmill held that an Essure lawsuit could proceed on allegations that Bayer withheld vital safety information from the US Food & Drug Administration.
In the lawsuit, a woman claims that she became pregnant with twins just one year after receiving the Essure implants, which are designed to prevent pregnancy altogether. To learn more about Judge Winmill’s ruling, click here.
September 7, 2016 – FDA Approves On-Going Essure Safety Study
In February, the US Food & Drug Administration ordered health care giant Bayer to add a “black box” warning to Essure. As an additional measure, the federal agency instructed Bayer to conduct a long-term study on Essure’s health risks – the details of which have now been approved, according to the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society.
Bayer’s safety study will follow two groups of 1,400 women. One group will receive Essure implants, while the other will undergo laparoscopic tubal sterilization procedures. All of the subjects will be between 21 and 45 years old.
The study will focus on four primary health risks, all of which currently appear more likely among patients who receive Essure:
- chronic abdominal or pelvic pain
- abnormal bleeding
- allergic reactions
- surgical removals of Essure
As secondary endpoints, the study will review patients’ bloodwork, pathology and histology. The effectiveness of both birth control methods will also be assessed, with effectiveness defined as the ability to prevent pregnancy.
While the study won’t be complete until 2023, a six-month report is done in March 2017. One-year findings will be released in September 2017.
In recent years, Bayer’s controversial birth control implant has been linked to numerous severe side effects. Tens of thousands of women have spoken out about their experiences with the device, noting severe pelvic pain, menstrual abnormalities and migraine headaches. Now, hundreds of women have filed personal injury lawsuits against Bayer, accusing the company of hiding vital safety information from the FDA.
September 1, 2016 – California Judge Gives Green-Light To Essure Side Effect Lawsuits
Judge Winifred Y. Smith just gave the growing Essure litigation a boost, allowing 11 lawsuits filed in a California state court to proceed, according to ModernHealthcare.com.
The manufacturer behind Essure, Bayer, has long argued that women claiming the company’s birth control device causes severe side effects should be barred from court. Since the FDA, a federal agency, approved Essure as “safe and effective,” the company argues, women shouldn’t be allowed to file lawsuits based on state consumer protection laws.
Judge Smith, however, isn’t buying that logic wholesale. On August 2, 2016, the Judge allowed a slate of Essure lawsuits move forward on two counts:
- Bayer’s alleged failure to adequately warn the FDA, and thereby the public, of Essure’s potential side effects
- Bayer’s alleged misrepresentation of Essure’s safety and efficacy in advertising materials that were not approved by the FDA
Legal experts say the opinion could open doors for thousands of other women considering Essure lawsuits of their own. You can read more about the decision, and check out an infographic we made to explain Judge Smith’s reasoning, on our blog.
February 29, 2015 – FDA Wants To Put “Black Box” Warning On Essure
Following more than six months of review, the US Food & Drug Administration has decided on a path forward on Essure – although it’s not as strong a stance as some public health advocates would like.
Apparently published (too) early, an FDA press release says the agency will “recommend” a major labeling revision, by instructing Bayer Pharmaceutical to add a new “black box” warning to packages containing Essure implants. The new warning is expected to include major side effects reported by many women, including chronic pelvic pain, according to CNN.
The FDA has also recommended a “patient decision checklist,” a document intended to guide conversations between physicians and their patients. It will likely include info regarding side effects, and will ask patients to agree to a three-month follow-up appointment. The checklist is meant to be signed by both patients and doctors.
The agency has also instructed Bayer to conduct a new study investigating the device’s risks “in a real-world environment.” The FDA’s press release is no longer available on its website. It was taken down shortly after being published, but is expected to be released officially on March 1, 2016. You can learn more about the agency’s new warnings on our blog.
Raise Your Voice For Women’s Health
BirthControlProblems.com is sponsored by an alliance of experienced plaintiffs’ attorney devoted to protecting women’s rights. Led by Rob Jenner, Esq. and Elizabeth Graham, Esq., we believe that every Essure patient deserves to have their experiences honored. We’ve heard too many stories from women who were ignored by their own doctors, dismissed as irrational and left to suffer in silence.
We want to hear from you. If you received Essure and experienced severe side effects, we want to know about it. Call us today for a free, no obligation consultation and learn more about your rights and legal options.