June 4, 2014 — The family of 24 year-old girl who died of a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs) have vowed to continue fighting for stronger warning labels on NuvaRing, after rejecting a $100 million settlement.
The victim, Erika Langhart, was a promising student who was preparing to attend law school. Instead, on Thanksgiving Day in 2011, she died of a massive pulmonary embolism that completely clogged vessels in her lungs. Before then, she had no medical history of blood clots.
In February, Merck proposed a $100 million settlement agreement, which works out to about $58,000 per plaintiff. The settlement is structured so that 95% of plaintiffs must agree to the terms, giving plaintiffs like the Langharts room to opt out. It is significantly lower than the $1.6 billion Bayer offered to resolve 6,800 similar lawsuits involving Yaz and Yasmin.
The Langhart family told the Durango Herald:
“This settlement agreement, orchestrated by Merck and the attorneys on both sides, driven by their own greed, has all but eliminated the chance for Merck to be taken to trial.”
Several studies have linked NuvaRing and other “fourth-generation” contraceptives to higher rates of blood clots. The British Medical Journal published a study in 2012 linking NuvaRing to a 6.5-fold increased risk of blood clots compared to women who did not use contraceptives, and a doubled increased risk compared to women who used levonorgestrel.