A $100 million settlement with Merck & Co. has been finalized as 95 percent of claimants opted to receive compensation. The settlement regarding the company’s hormonal contraceptive, NuvaRing, was announced in February. There will be about 3,800 people that will receive compensation through the NuvaRing settlement.
The NuvaRing lawsuits alleged that Merck had downplayed the health risks connected to the contraceptive and did not adequately warn its users about the potential serious complications. In October 2013, Merck revised its NuvaRing label to include a company-funded study but did not include an independent study that concluded NuvaRing users nearly double their risk of venous thromboembolism, or a blood clot in the vein.
Skeleton racer Megan Henry had her 2014 Olympic dreams shattered after developing a blood clot in both of her lungs 10 days after she began using NuvaRing. She was forced to miss a year of training, and could not compete in the Games. Citing Bayer’s settlement of $1.6 billion over its contraceptive Yaz for similar accusations, Henry calls the NuvaRing settlement “laughable” for 4,000 people to divide.
The parents of a 24-year-old, not satisfied with the settlement, will continue to lobby the FDA to improve the labeling and warnings on the contraceptive. The Phoenix native died of a pulmonary embolism according to her parents. They refused to participate in the settlement, indicating that they believe the money is a buy-out that allows the company to avoid accountability, and will continue to push for labels that warn about NuvaRing’s more serious side effects.