October 1, 2012 — There are 186 NuvaRing lawsuits currently pending in a “mass tort” litigation in New Jersey, and more than 1,000 additional lawsuits filed in a federal litigation in Missouri. The most recent plaintiff is Amanda Craft, who filed a NuvaRing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) lawsuit on September 18, 2012. She alleges that the NuvaRing contraceptive caused her to suffer from DVT, a life-threatening condition that occurs when blood clots form deep inside the legs.
All of the lawsuits that are filed in the MCL allege that the manufacturer failed to adequately warn about the risk of DVT. The NuvaRing contraceptive is a flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina. It releases two types of synthetic hormones (etonogestrel and ethinyl estradiol) which mimic the effect of progestin and estrogen. Unfortunately, studies have linked synthetic progestin to an increased risk of DVT blood clots. If these blood clots break loose in the bloodstream, they can travel to the lungs and cause a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.
The problem with the NuvaRing is that advertisements indicated that the risk of blood clots was similar to oral birth control pills. However, there is growing evidence linking NuvaRing to a higher risk of blood clots than birth control pills. One study, which was published in May 2012 in the British Medical Journal, linked NuvaRing to a 6.5-fold increased risk of blood clots compared to women who did not use hormonal contraceptives. They also found a doubled risk of blood clots compared to women who used older types of birth control pills.
Many women who were injured are now filing lawsuits against the manufacturers. These lawsuits have been centralized into the New Jersey Superior Court for Bergen County. Another litigation has been created into a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) in federal court, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. There are already more than 1,000 lawsuits pending in this litigation.
The NuvaRing litigation is already proceeding. The first bellwether trials are scheduled to begin in early 2013. In an MDL, decisions made in bellwether cases help expedite the resolution of the rest of the cases. Although the litigation is proceeding rapidly, lawsuits continue to be filed by people who were injured by this device.