Approximately 900 federal lawsuits are in multidistrict litigation in the eastern district of Missouri, with an additional 100 in New Jersey in state multidistrict litigation. So far, no bellwether trials have been set up, although lawyers are trying to schedule the first bellwether cases.
NuvaRing is a birth control vaginal ring and was originally approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2001. Plaintiffs in lawsuits against Merck, maker of the NuvaRing, allege the contraceptive is associated with an increased risk of venous thromboembolism and strokes compared with other forms of birth control. Furthermore, plaintiffs allege Merck did not adequately design or manufacture NuvaRing and that the drugmaker downplayed the risks of venous thromboembolism associated with the contraceptive.
That risk could be quite high. According to a study published May 10, 2012, in the British Medical Journal, women who used vaginal rings for contraception had 6.5 times the risk of venous thrombosis compared with non-users of hormonal contraception, equal to approximately 7.8 more per 10,000 exposure years.
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In other words, even if it has been a few years since a patient suffered venous thromboembolism after using NuvaRing, there is still a possibility that patient could be included in a lawsuit.
Some lawsuits filed against other birth control makers have resulted in settlements while other lawsuits work their way through the court system. So far, no settlements have been announced in NuvaRing litigation.