To many women, the Essure birth control device seemed like a dream come true. For those seeking permanent birth control, it's an easier and cheaper version of a tubal ligation than the traditional way of getting your tubes tied. A quick, minimally invasive procedure and a fast recovery made the device seem like a wonderful alternative to other birth control strategies. Women soon found out that this dream could easily turn into a nightmare.
The Essure birth control device consists of two metal coils that are inserted into the fallopian tubes. The body's reaction to the coils produces scar tissue, which prevents sperm from reaching the eggs. It was marketed as painless, simple, and effective.
Medical device manufacturer Bayer said they will pull the Essure birth control device from the market. They cited the reason as a decline in sales. What they failed to report was the fact that thousands of women suffered a range of horrible side effects from the device. Although Bayer explicitly stated the device was not pulled for safety concerns, over 16,000 lawsuits have been filed with many more expected to come.
Bayer said, "The benefit-risk profile of Essure has not changed, and we continue to stand behind the product's safety and efficacy, which are demonstrated by an extensive body of research."
In 2016, the FDA put a black box warning label (the strictest labeling requirement) on Essure after receiving over 1200 reports. Bayer defended their product, citing "extensive research had deemed the product safe."
Many women who experienced the device begged to differ. Metal parts from the device can become dislodged and tear up the uterus, causing internal bleeding and intense pain, so much so that a hysterectomy may be required. It can also lead to nickel allergies, which cause mental issues such as depression. Some women required additional surgeries, such as the removal of the device and the reparation of organs damaged by the device. And to top it off, some women still became pregnant.
Lawsuits targeting Bayer accuse the company of continuing to produce the device despite awareness of the risks and failing to warn sellers, doctors, and patients. Bayer has sold about one million Essure devices since the product came on the market in 2002. The company plans to phase out the device by the end of the year, stating that the decline in sales was due to an overall decrease of permanent contraception in the United States, a growing reliance on other birth control methods and "inaccurate and misleading publicity about the device."
Despite the awareness, some doctors continue to use the device so be vigilant in your choice of birth control. If you or anyone in your family has had an Essure device implanted and experienced side effects such as pain, perforated organs, or pregnancy, get in touch with Reich and Binstock today. We will make sure you are compensated for medical cost to treat the symptoms of the device's malfunctions as well as additional damages from pain and emotional anguish.