Sixty-two percent of women across the United States use some form of birth control. The most common form of birth control is oral contraceptives. However, misuse of the pill is so common that over one million unintended pregnancies occur each year. Manufacturers of other birth control devices harp on this fact to boost popularity, sales and profits.
One type of medical device that is a pill alternative is Essure. Promoted as the only form of non-surgical permanent birth control, Essure seemed like a convenient alternative for women whose families are complete. The procedure, itself, was marketed as easy, fast and effective, taking only 10 minutes to perform and allowing women to go home 45 minutes after the procedure. The procedure involves placing a coil into each fallopian tube. Over a three-month period, scar tissue forms around the inserts. The scar tissue then creates a barrier that serves to prevent contraception.
While Essure seems like a good alternative to tubal ligation or consistently being on birth control pills, the seemingly easy procedure has left many women in physical and psychological agony, causing side effects such as severe pain, autoimmune responses, unintended pregnancy ending in stillborns and severe bleeding. Additionally, the device is known to break or migrate to different areas of the body, causing perforation of the uterus or other organs and, in some cases, even causing death.
Reading this, you may be wondering how these types of things continue to happen when we have the FDA and drug and medical device research and approval processes. The answer, unfortunately, is that many drugs and medical devices are rushed through these processes, and many studies are marred with issues.
With Essure, for example, a five-year study was supposed to be conducted to determine the safety and efficacy of the device. However, only 70% of the patients were actually followed for the full five years. Sadly, this kind of issue is not an isolated occurence. It is truly shameful when manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies place profit before people. It's time they were held accountable.