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Dangers of NuvaRing’s Third Generation Progestin

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman LLP

By: Kelda Doherty

Merck (formerly Schering-Plough), manufacturers of the pill-free contraceptive NuvaRing, is now facing over 1,000 law suits concerning allegations that their contraceptive is responsible for the creation of life threatening blood clots. This includes deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), and stroke. These suits include wrongful death suits for young women, some of whom were mothers and wives.

Data shows that more than 5.5 million Americans were prescribed the non-pill birth control manufactured by Merck/ Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals in 2010 alone. In recent years, more than 1,000 cases regarding NuvaRing related blood clots have been reported to the FDA.

Whilst all hormonal birth control carry risks of blood clots, those containing “third generation” progestin, such as NuvaRing’s desogestrel, carry higher risks causing clots without necessarily adding any benefits. Interestingly, NuvaRing benefited by owning the patent for desogestrel and intentionally sought not to use a generic second generation progestin. An epidemiologist at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands released a study which showed that there is a higher risk of blood clots in NuvaRing than in second-generation birth control. In response to this fact, NuvaRing simply chose to ignore the scientific study and state in their information pamphlet “it is unknown if NuvaRing has a different risk of [blood clots] than second-generation oral contraceptives.”

In 2012, a group of independent researchers carried out a similar investigation with shocking results that NuvaRing carried a 90% higher risk of deep vein thrombosis and/or pulmonary embolism PE).

Our firm will have the first trial in the nation against Merck in May of this year before Judge Martinotti in Bergen County, New Jersey.

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