The walls are closing in on Bayer A.G. as Essure lawsuits mount across the country. The tide has turned against the company after a California judge ruled 14 Essure lawsuits could proceed. In a similar move, Judge Staci Yandle remanded an Essure lawsuit back to state court in Illinois.
This comes as a blow to Bayer who has previously been successful in getting Essure lawsuits dismissed based on a federal preemption rule that protects the company from liability. However, in the California ruling as well as in this one in Illinois, both judges found the allegations do not interfere with the federal laws protecting Bayer, and therefore the cases can proceed in state courts.
Rulings like this one will likely open the floodgates for hundreds or thousands of additional lawsuits against Bayer over its Essure contraceptive device. Bayer already faces nearly 1,000 lawsuits in California that are being coordinated in Los Angeles.
Bayer is also receiving pressure from other sources. Representative Mike Fitzpatrick introduced legislation into Congress that would remove Essure from the market and strip the company from any protection provided by federal preemption laws.
The Problem With Essure
Between November 2002 and the end of 2015, the FDA received nearly 10,000 reports of adverse event related to the Essure device. Women reported suffering from debilitating headaches, vomiting and nausea, chronic pain, and allergic reactions. Additionally, the device was also reported to migrate through the body and/or perforate internal organs. For many women, the only way to find relief from Essure side effects was through complete hysterectomies.
In response to the overwhelming adverse event reports, the FDA ordered Bayer to perform post-marketing studies to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the device. Unfortunately, it will be years before the results of these studies are available. In the meantime, mounting Essure lawsuits will insure Bayer answers for marketing a dangerous device.