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NuvaRing Lawsuit Hearing Set for Preliminary Settlement Discussions

Feb 23, 2012 | Parker Waichman LLP

Could a settlement be on the horizon for NuvaRing lawsuits?  A hearing has been scheduled for February 28 in the federal NuvaRing litigation for the purpose discussing an alternative dispute resolution plan.

A growing number of NuvaRing lawsuits are now pending in the NuvaRing multidistrict litigation in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, where they have been consolidated since 2009.  Judge Rodney W. Sippel, who is overseeing the litigation, ordered both plaintiff and defense counsels to submit proposed plans for alternative dispute resolution.  Attorneys on the plaintiffs’ side have proposed that a Special Master be assigned to supervise negotiations. However, the defense maintains that doing so would be premature. 

 NuvaRing plaintiffs allege to have suffered serious injuries, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism, heart attacks and strokes, because of the device.  They also accuse Merck & Co. and its Organon Pharmaceuticals subsidiary of failing to properly research the device or adequately warn about the risk of blood clots from NuvaRing.

NuvaRing has been on the market since 2002.  Last October, a study funded by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) found that NuvaRing raised the risk of blood clots, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), by 56% when compared to older birth control pills. The FDA study noted that combined hormonal contraceptives, including the etonogestrel/ethinyl estradiol vaginal ring, “potentially result in higher sustained exposure to estrogen and hence, increased thromboembolic risk.”

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