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This April, a batch of ParaGard T 380A Intrauterine Copper Contraceptive devices were recalled due to a lack of assurance of sterility, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The device's parent company, TEVA Pharmaceuticals which is based in Pennsylvania, voluntarily recalled the devices from hospitals, clinics, and gynecologists across the country.

The ParaGard is a type of contraceptive device implanted into a woman to prevent unintended pregnancy. According to Drugs.com, its success rate is very high with only 1.5 percent of women, who were correctly using the device, reporting an unplanned pregnancy. The IUD device is only authorized to be placed and removed by healthcare professionals who have experience with such implementations. Medical warnings for ParaGard use include intrauterine pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, immunocompromise, embedment, perforation, and expulsion.

This is not the first time that ParaGard has come under media scrutiny. Unrelated to the recall, a lawsuit was filed against TEVA in March of 2013 after the device embedded itself into one user's colon, reportedly causing her severe complications which resulted in mandatory colon surgery.

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According to Fox News, more than 3,600 women have joined together to file an unsafe medical drug lawsuit against drug manufacturer Merck. According to the lawsuit, more than 100 women have died as a result of using the company's contraceptive, NuvaRing.

Lawyers associated with the suit argue that the contraceptive ring caused blood clots that resulted in death. They also state that Merck failed to include the risk of clots on the medication label and did not inform doctors that NuvaRing carries a clotting risk that is up to five times greater than traditional birth control pills.

NuvaRing uses a different type of progestin than what is contained in other birth control medications. Desogestrel and its related compounds carry fewer side effects (such as acne) than birth control pills but carry a higher risk of blood clots. According to research in the British Medical Journal, vaginal rings also carry a 90 percent greater risk of venous thromboembolism (a blood clot that blocks a vein).

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The NuvaRing, a contraceptive device originally marketed as a safe alternative to traditional birth control pills has not been officially recalled, despite rumors that it has been. According to PR Newswire, at the beginning of this year the trial date for 1,000 lawsuits involving the device was extended, “feeding rumors that the vaginal ring contraceptive's manufacturer, Merck, may be ready to enter settlements negotiations,” reports PR Newswire. Approximately 1.5 million women worldwide use the device despite increased risk.

The increased risks of NuvaRing include increased chance of blood clots, pulmonary embolism, and strokes. According to the Huffington Post, the FDA, after clinical trials in which “a healthy woman in her 20s had developed a blood clot—a surprising occurrence that an investigator determined was probably related to the birth control device,” said that the manufacturer needed to include warnings with the NuvaRing packaging. Manufacturer Organon, “adamantly opposed such a statement,” according to the Huffington Post.

Organon, the Huffington Post reports, was planning to market NuvaRing as a safe alternative to birth control pills, with fewer side effects. “An elevated VTE [venous thromboembolism] warning label would have been a huge blow,” according to the Huffington Post. “Such a warning might have discouraged women from using NuvaRing and made doctors less inclined to prescribe it—significantly cutting into the potential return on investment,” the Huffington Post reports.

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Yahoo! Finance is reporting that the scheduled May 2013 trial date in the multidistrict NuvaRing litigation, which is currently pending before the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, has been postponed. This latest continuance of the trial proceedings has resulted in rumors that Merck, the manufacturer of the vaginal ring contraceptive, is preparing to enter into settlement negotiations. Not only does this development raise the potential for much-needed financial relief for women injured by using NuvaRing, but it also leaves open the possibility that even more lawsuits will be added to the more than 1,000 NuvaRing lawsuits that already are pending.

NuvaRing was the first vaginal hormonal contraceptive device approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 2001. The ring works by releasing a low dose of synthetic progestin and estrogen over a period of three weeks. Starting in May, 2007, consumers began to file complaints in jurisdictions nationwide claiming dangerous side effects from using the medical device. Studies in 2009 and 2011 reveal that using NuvaRing considerably increases the risk of serious blood clots, including a 56% increased risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism over those women who use regular birth control pills. To date, the FDA has received almost 5,000 adverse event reports from users of NuvaRing. Nonetheless, NuvaRing has not been recalled from U.S. markets, and 1.5 million women worldwide continue to use NuvaRing.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or dangerous side effects from using NuvaRing, there still may be time to file a claim in the pending litigation. You may be entitled to damages for the injuries that you have sustained that are attributable to NuvaRing. For more information about the NuvaRing litigation and other defective medical devices, contact your Illinois defective medical device attorney today.

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