Bayer faces class-action suit over birth control implant

Aug. 13 (UPI) — Australian women are joining a class-action suit against the maker of the Essure permanent birth control implant, which they say has injured thousands of women.

Essure is a permanent contraceptive device that involves two metal coils inserted into the Fallopian tubes to create a barrier to prevent pregnancy.

Thousand of patients have complained of complications, ranging from perforations, nickel poisoning and chronic pain from the implants.

Australian law firm Slater and Gordon said Monday it’s leading the class action against Bayer, the maker of the devices.

“The Essure device has been known to corrode, exposing women to nickel poisoning, as well as migration and perforation of the uterus and other organs,” the law firm said.

After receiving nearly 60 reports of adverse reactions, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration issued a hazard alert that prompted Bayer to recall Essure from the market last year.

“The reports have included changes in menstrual bleeding, unintended pregnancy, chronic pain, perforation, migration of the device, and allergy/hypersensitivity or immune-type reactions. Surgery, including hysterectomy, was required in some instances to remove the device,” the TGA said.

A Bayer spokeswoman told The Guardian it was aware of the lawsuit and committed to the “proper and objective consideration of any legal claim made should such a claim be lodged.”

“Bayer respects the rights of every individual to seek legal advice and take such further action as they may be advised,” the spokeswoman added. “Bayer will continue to support healthcare providers in their management of all patients using Bayer medicines and medical devices. We encourage women who have any questions about Essure to contact their healthcare provider.”

The law firm noted the case of Tanya Davidon, a mother of four who had the device inserted in 2010 and suffered severe effects for years, including hair loss, bleeding and loss of cognitive function.

“I was terrified I was experiencing the onset of early Alzheimer’s Disease,” Davidson said.

Estimates show that thousands of Australian women have the Essure implant.

The Australian legal action resembles other class actions in the United States, Canada and Scotland.

In the United States, Bayer announced last month it would cease sales of the product by the end of 2018. The Food and Drug Administration has already restricted sales.

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