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Growing Online Movement Demands Recall of Bayer's Essure Contraceptive Device

Nov 14, 2013

The online campaign in opposition to Bayer’s Essure contraceptive device is gathering strength among women who claim the device caused them severe pain and injuries. The women have created Facebook support pages, Twitter campaigns, and petitions—and their actions have generated considerable media attention.

The movement uses the Twitter hashtag #EssureRally, through which women are rallying to press Bayer to recall the device, reports. They have also organized public events, including street-corner picketing.

The group has the assistance of famed consumer activist Erin Brockovich, whose organization received appeals for help from women who blame their injuries on Essure. Reports on Brockovich’s website cite instances of chronic pain, colon perforations caused by movement of the device, implants that have been lost and are no longer visible on scans, pregnancies despite the presence of the implants, and debilitating headaches.

The anti-Essure ralliers have called on Bayer to release its full clinical study reports and have reproached the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for failing to implement a recall of the device. But the FDA said its review of adverse event reports and the five-year post-approval study doesn’t support the reports of extreme fatigue, depression, weight-gain and other issues the women say are associated with the implant, according to MassDevice. The agency added that Essure is 99.83% effective as a means of permanent sterilization, and that rare cases of sterilization failure, as well as certain post-treatment problems, are known issues listed in the product's labeling.

Essure is a permanent form of birth control. Flexible inserts are implanted in the fallopian tubes where scar tissue forms around them to prevent fertilization. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis and takes about 10 minutes to perform, according to Bayer's online materials.

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