Birth control is a business with a lot of money at stake, and has drug companies vying for the profits from birth control pills and other methods of contraception. Even given the age of the birth control pill (over 60 years), the drug companies are continuing to make new pharmaceutical and contraceptive devices at an unprecedented rate. The Mirena IUD, on the United States market since 2001, comes from a long history of intrauterine devices, and its path appears to be just as troubled.What is an Intrauterine Device (IUD)?
An intrauterine device is a type of long-lasting birth control which is designed to be implanted directly into the uterus. Mirena in particular is a little larger than a quarter, is t-shaped and is made of flexible plastic. It is designed to provide continuous birth control for up to five years. The device's manufacturer, Bayer, is not entirely clear about how Mirena works. They know that it releases a steady dose of the hormone levonorgestrel to prevent pregnancy. They also suspect that it inhibits pregnancy by thickening cervical mucus (limiting the movement of sperm) and possibly by thinning the uterine lining. The Mirena must be implanted and removed by a doctor, though surgery is not required unless there are problems. A Mirena IUD is said to last five years; the copper ParaGuard IUD lasts 10 years and the Nexplanon implant is expected to last three years.
There is no question that IUDs like Mirena are effective forms of birth control. They are said to be 99.7% effective and there is no risk of user error with respect to forgetting to take the pill or insert a diaphragm. So in spite of the cost (over $700) and the procedure required (again, it is inserted into the uterus through the cervix, not an appealing idea for many women), the convenience of IUDs led to widespread usage.
But IUDs in this country have a pretty horrific history. In the 1970s, one particular IUD, the Dalkon Shield, had a awful design that left woman at grave risk for infection. As a result, 10 women died and the FDA had to pull the product from the market. The infections also left thousands more infertile and led to over $400 million in settlements before its' manufacturer went out of business.
IUDs largely vanished from the United States. Now, led by Bayer and other companies drawn to the potential gold mine that is successful birth control medication, they have reemerged. The question is are they safe? While some disagree, the message we are increasingly getting from victims is no.Mirena IUD Injuries
The problems that we've seen with the Mirena IUD are reminiscent of the Dalkon Shield. They include:
- puncture of the uterus
- infection, sometimes causing death
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) (a type of infection of the reproductive organs)
- permanent pelvic pain
In serious cases, the IUD must be removed surgically. Sometimes surgical repairs are required, and removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) may be necessary.Mirena IUD Lawsuits
There are quite a number of Mirena IUD lawsuits. Many of them (at least 16) are filed in New Jersey state court where they have been combined into a type of class action known as a "mass tort." The cases share common discovery, which is an efficient way to conduct cases where there are many injuries arising from the same defective medical device. Mirena lawsuits are gaining steam elsewhere. Mirena IUD claims have also been filed in late 2012 in Ohio and California. Our law firm anticipates the number of cases to rise dramatically in the upcoming months and years.Will My Mirena IUD Lawsuit Reach a Settlement or Will I Need to Go to Trial?
The short answer to this question is we do not know. There is certainly no guarantee that if you bring a Mirena IUD injury claim, you will resolve it in a settlement that brings you a lot money. But, the history of mass tort litigation like this suggests that the odds are strongly against an individual plaintiff going to trial. The far more likely outcome than a jury trial is a settlement or a dismissal of the claims. In our opinion, if you have a viable claim, a settlement is far more likely than a dismissal. But these cases are in their early stages - no MDL class action has even been formed yet - so there are still a lot of different directions your case can go. Keep in mind, the vast majority of lawyers handing the Mirena IUD cases are going to front the costs and expenses involved in any claim so there is no risk to you for joining these lawsuits.
September, 2014 Update: These cases are getting ready for trial. Well, sort of. The twelve Mirena IUD lawsuits that are are going to go first in federal court have been selected. But trials are not set to begin until March, 2016. One take home message from this: these cases take a long time. If you have a claim, now is the time to get moving forward.Contact Us
If you or a loved one has been prescribed Mirena and developed serious injuries, including Pelvic Inflammation Disease, punctures of the uterus, infections, or significant bleeding, contact our lawyers at 1.800.553.8082, or send us some information in our online contact form. We try our best to give an almost instant response to inquiries.For More Information