There is a lot of confusion out there about Mirena lawsuits. Women are confused that there are so many lawyers in 2019 looking for Mirena cases yet they cannot find a lawyer for their case.
If you are frustrated, I completely understand. Let me try to explain because there are not a lot of good explanations out there online.
When these lawsuits began, plaintiffs’ lawyers filed thousands of Mirena lawsuits. The focus in the litigation was:
- What Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals knew about the risks associated with IUDs in general and, specifically, with Mirena?
- Why didn’t the company do a better job of communicating the risks of uterine perforation and migration?
- What Bayer tried to do to make its IUD as safe as possible?
- Were profits the motive to avoid making the warning clearer?
So what happened? These cases bombed. Why? Was it because women were not suffering? No. The Mirena perforation cases failed because plaintiffs’ attorneys could not find experts that the federal court judge hearing the cases would accept. We had four experts and the court rejected all of them and then granted judgment without a trial in favor of Bayer. This lead to the dismissal of over 1,000 cases.
Does there dismissal mean the Mirena perforation cases were not valid claims? No. Sometimes, in these mass tort cases, the science has not caught up to the facts. It certainly has not been proven that Bayer’s mistakes did not harm these women. But it also has not yet been proven that Bayer’s mistakes did cause harm.
So if you have a Mirena migration case, you are likely going to have an extremely hard time finding a lawyer who is willing to take the case. Few, if any, lawyers taking uterine perforation and migration cases.
New Lawsuits Involving Mirena
So why are lawyers still advertising like crazy for Mirena cases? In 2018, there is a whole new MDL In Manhattan with over around 175 lawsuits pending. Plaintiffs allege that Bayer’s Mirena Intrauterine System causes a severe, permanent, and debilitating condition called pseudotumor cerebri or intracranial hypertension (“PTC/IH”). These lawsuits allege that Mirena’s warning does not adequately warn about non-stroke neurological conditions such as PTC/IH, despite a known link between LNG and PTC/IH.
Pseudotumor cerebri is a condition that develops when a person’s cerebrospinal fluid becomes elevated, causing increased pressure in the patient’s head. Women on Mirena that develop this condition often develop symptoms of severe migraines or migraine-like headaches with blurred vision. They might also experience diplopia (double vision), temporary blindness, blind spots, or other visual deficiencies, papilledema, or optic disc swelling due. Without intervention, this condition can cause blindness.
How are these cases going? Not well. In October 2018, the MDL judge overseeing this litigation dismissed all of the plaintiffs’ experts on causation, finding a lack of scientific evidence on the causal relationship between these injuries. What does this mean? It means that unless there the judge is overturned on appeal, these federal court cases are likely to be dismissed. If you came here looking for good news on this litigation, I’m sorry I do not have it. Bayer is winning.
The Problems with Mirena
Mirena, a small, flexible T-shaped IUD, releases a hormone called Levonorgestrel, a hormone that effectively prevents pregnancy. Mirena is placed in a woman’s uterus and is inserted by a doctor in an outpatient office visit. The problem with Mirena is that there are a lot of problems.
This intrauterine device is to be placed within seven days of the first day of menstruation and approved to remain in the uterus for as many as five years. The warning label says that this device should be used in women who have had at least one child. Why? Is it because carrying a child to term is difficult after using the Mirena device? I’ve never seen an explanation of the distinction which we should be talking about more as we flush out these cases.
Bayer admits that it doesn’t exactly know how it works, which should be the first sign of concern, right? The theory is that the device releases Levonorgestrel to be distributed in tiny proportions directly to the lining of the uterus. It may thicken cervical mucus to prevent movement of sperm, and it may thin the lining of the uterus. The big problem with Mirena, as countless women have discovered, is that the small “flexible” device can puncture the uterus, which could lead to bleeding, inflammation, and infection. It can also shift and migrate to a part of the woman’s body outside of the uterus.
After this device had been put on the market, there was a growing number of MedWatch Adverse Event reports talking about embedment of and perforation through the uterine lining, and migration of the IUD through the uterine lining after it was implanted. Bayer got these reports and did nothing to change its warning label so women could know these problems were a real downside of using this device. Why wouldn’t Bayer warn women? That is pretty obvious, right? Profits.
The IUD may need to be surgically removed and, in serious cases, the uterus could be at risk and a hysterectomy may be required. Some women experience Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). Long-term consequences include infertility, ectopic pregnancy, permanent pelvic pain, and abscesses.
Why a Warning Was Particularly Important in This Case
It is important for the maker of a drug or medical device to warn doctors and consumers about the risk associated with that product. When it comes to birth control, a warning matters even more because women have so many choices. Women have basically four choices when it comes to this class of birth control:
- Implanon: This device is a plastic implant rod containing progestogen etonogestrel which is surgically inserted under the skin of the upper arm
- Depo-Provera: injectable progestogen that lasts up to three months.
- ParaGard Intrauterine Copper IUD: similar to Mirena but does not release steroidal hormones.
The Mirena IUD, unlike ParaGard, contains Levonorgestrel which is a steroidal hormone. With Mirena, you have the risk of uterine perforation and also potentially the risk of ovarian cysts, irregular bleeding, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and cramps.
There is another troubling risk with Mirena worth considering too. Give Bayer credit for this: women rarely get pregnant while using this form of birth control. But it does happen. If a woman does conceive, there is the risk of a lost fetus and permanent infertility. These are real risks.
The others come with risk too. Depo-Provera use has been shown to result in a doubled risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV and a loss of bone mineral density. Implanon has a higher risk for ectopic pregnancy and pulmonary emboli and strokes that can be fatal. The risks of Implanon may be even higher for smokers.
So none of these choices are perfect. But women do have choices, and they deserve information to make the right choice for them.
What the Lawsuits Allege Bayer Did
Negligently or fraudulently represented that Mirena has been properly tested and found to be safe and effective
Concealed their knowledge of the IUD’s defects because their focus was on profits and not people’s health and safety
- Negligently failed to perform clinical trials that would have uncovered the safety concerns with the device
- Failing to provide adequate safety instruction for using the product
- Negligently advertising the benefits without explaining the risks
- Underreporting, underestimating and downplaying the danger of the device to maintain and increase its market share
You can summarize the whole thing by saying Bayer said it was safe when it was not safe.
Are There More Risks Associated With Mirena
Plaintiffs’ lawsuits allege that Mirena may cause:
- Pseudotumor cerebri
- Intracranial hypertension
- Ectopic pregnancies
- Fetal injuries and death
- Premature menopause
- Uterus injury
- Intrauterine pregnancy
Can You Still Get a Lawyer?
Our law firm is no longer handling Mirena cases for the reasons we have explained above. You can contact other lawyers but we do not have a referral for any Mirena cases.
- Mirena IUD Pseudotumor Cerebri (PTC) Lawsuits
- Mirena IUD Lawsuit Update
- An Overview of These Claims: What You Can Do For Yourself