A decision about whether or not to consolidate the over 40 lawsuits lodged against Bayer Pharmaceuticals by women who have had serious problems with the company’s intrauterine birth control device (IUD) Mirena has yet to be made even as the first trial against the pharmaceutical giant is scheduled to begin in only a month.
The first Mirena trial is scheduled for May in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. The claim, one of the first Mirena lawsuits to be filed in the nation, alleges the plaintiff was never adequately warned that spontaneous migration following insertion of the device was a possible Mirena complication.
Women across the country have filed claims against the German-based company, alleging the makers of the birth control failed to adequately warn that the device could spontaneously migrate to other parts of the body and perforate a woman’s uterus. Mirena was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000 and is one of only two IUD’s approved for use in the United States.
Bayer is trying to have the lawsuit dismissed under South Carolina’s “learned intermediary doctrine,” and claims the patient’s doctor was aware of the risk of spontaneous Mirena migration. The learned intermediary doctrine requires the plaintiff to prove Bayer’s warning to her physician was inadequate and that a different warning would have deterred the doctor from prescribing Mirena.
Bayer’s motion claims her doctor testified that the risk of IUD migration and perforation was known to her for 20 years, and that the plaintiff is unable to prove that Bayer’s failure to warn was a proximate cause of the alleged injuries. The plaintiff counters that Bayer’s warnings that accompany the Mirena IUD include a caution against perforation at the time the device is inserted. But the plaintiff alleges she sustained her injuries as a result of Mirena migration that occurred well after insertion.
Bayer is opposing consolidation of the cases filed across the country on the grounds that it has extensively prepared for the trial in South Carolina, including production of 1.7 million pages of relevant documents. Bayer argues consolidating the cases would counteract the work and financial investment they already have made in defending this case. Bayer also said it wants the South Carolina trial to begin on time so it can prove that its warnings about the risk of uterine perforation were adequate. A consolidation could delay any proceedings for quite some time.
Plaintiffs who have filed claims against Bayer are seeking the consolidation, claiming it will be more efficient and plaintiffs can share costs for pretrial preparations, costs they might not otherwise be able to afford.
Women have complained of numerous side effects following or during usage of Mirena. The majority of the lawsuits claim migration of the IUD, perforation of the uterus or other organs and expulsion of the device. Some of these problems have caused major issues, including fertility problems and surgeries.
Women have complained of the following side effects in regards to Mirena:
- Uterine perforations
- Ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy in which the fetus grows outside the uterus)
- Intrauterine pregnancy (a pregnancy with Mirena in place)
- Group A streptococcal sepsis
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Embedment of the device in the uterine wall
- Perforation of the uterine wall or cervix
- Infertility, abscesses, erosion of adjacent areas such as the vagina
Women are continuing to experience problems with Mirena. The lawyers at Nolan Law Group are currently evaluating Mirena IUD cases. If you or someone you know has suffered an injury after using Mirena, please Contact Us or call 312-630-4000.