January 22, 2013 — An Oklahoma woman has filed a NuvaRing lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.
The Plaintiff, Tammy Reddix, alleges that NuvaRing caused her to suffer a life-threatening bilateral pulmonary embolism (blood clot in both of her lungs). The lawsuit alleges that the manufacturer, Organon USA (now a part of Merck & Co.) failed to adequately warn about the dangers associated with NuvaRing, which are higher than for many other contraceptives.
While using NuvaRing, the plaintiff suffered from chest pain and visited the Emergency Department at a hospital in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on February 24, 2011. The doctors performed a chest scan, which revealed a bilateral pulmonary embolism. She was immediately put on blood-thinning medications and told to stop using NuvaRing. She was hospitalized for four days and instructed to keep taking blood-thinning medications.
The lawsuit alleges that the manufacturer “knew or should have known that the use of their products created a higher risk of venous thromboembolism than oral contraceptives,” and yet they “failed to warn Plaintiff of said serious risks before she used the product and failed to conduct appropriate testing.” If the plaintiff had known about the risks, she never should have used NuvaRing.
The problem with NuvaRing is that it contains a synthetic progestin called etonogestrel, which has been linked to a higher risk of blood clots than other progestins, such as levonorgestrel. If a blood clot forms in a vein, it can potentially break loose, travel through the bloodstream, and become trapped in a patient’s lungs. This life-threatening complication is called a pulmonary embolism.
Merck is currently facing more than 1,200 NuvaRing lawsuits filed by women throughout the United States. About 1,000 of these lawsuits have been centralized in a federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Another 200 lawsuits are pending in New Jersey state court. The first lawsuits are scheduled to go to trial in federal court in July 2013.