January 22, 2013 — A woman from Oklahoma has filed a NuvaRing lawsuit after she suffered a life-threatening complications called a bilateral pulmonary embolism, in which blood clots became trapped in both of her lungs.
The plaintiff, Tammy Reddix, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, but it will be transferred to federal court where more than 1,000 other NuvaRing lawsuits are currently pending. She alleges that Organon USA (now owned by Merck & Co.) failed to adequately warn that NuvaRing is associated with higher risks than other, equally-effective contraceptives.
According to the complaint, the plaintiff visited the emergency department at a hospital in Oklahoma City after experiencing chest pain. Doctors ordered a chest scan, which revealed a bilateral pulmonary embolism. She was told to immediately stop using NuvaRing and was administered blood-thinning medications. She required four days of hospitalization and still requires follow-up care.
She alleges that she never would have used NuvaRing if she was aware of the serious risks. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that the manufacturer “knew or should have known that the use of their products created a higher risk of venous thromboembolism than oral contraceptives.” However, they “failed to warn Plaintiff of said serious risks before she used the product and failed to conduct appropriate testing.”
Several studies have linked NuvaRing to higher risks of blood-clots than other contraceptives. The problem is that it contains a newer type of hormone called etonogestrel, which is associated with a doubled risk of blood clots than older hormones like levonorgestrel. Unfortunately, many women used NuvaRing because they were not aware of the serious risks.
Merck & Co. is now facing nearly 1,300 NuvaRing lawsuits in both state and federal courts. Since 2008, new lawsuits have been transferred to the federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. There are also approximately 200 lawsuits filed in New Jersey. The first state trials begin next month, and federal trials begin in July 2013.