A settlement fund of $100 million dollars on behalf of women who were allegedly injured by the birth control product Nuvaring was announced today in New Jersey state and federal court. Attorney Jason T. Brown, the first attorney in the country to commence a battery of these cases against Nuvaring confirmed the settlement was unsealed in open court on Feb. 7.
The settlement may resolve as many as 3,800 cases in federal and state courts in New Jersey and Missouri, Judge Brian Martinotti in Hackensack said at a hearing. More than 200 women sued Merck in New Jersey accusing the drugmaker of selling NuvaRing while knowing it posed a higher risk of heart attack-inducing blood clots than competing products.
Attorney Brown, who handles class actions and mass torts nationwide, indicated that the settlement was fair and just. “This settlement allows an avenue of recovery for women who alleged in their complaints that they endured blood clots such as deep-vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolisms, strokes and death. There are strict deadlines contained in the settlement and any woman who has counsel should consult with their counsel as soon as possible,” Brown said.
NuvaRing is a hormonal-vaginal contraceptive that combines both estrogen and progestin in a ring to prevent pregnancy. The product, which was linked in a 2011 U.S. Food and Drug Administration report to a higher risk for blood clots, has been sold in the U.S. since 2001.
Brown took on pharmaceutical giants in 2006 by commencing lawsuits against the makers of NuvaRing. The product passed though the hands of Organon, Schering-Plough and the billion-dollar pharmaceutical company Merck. After eight years of fighting, hundreds of depositions worldwide, trial calls that came and went and relentless litigation from both sides the case settled for $100,000,000.
The settlement website is www.nuvaringofficialsettlement.com. The settlement agreement is extensive and calls for 95% participation rate in a short time frame to become effective. Brown hailed the result as a victory and commended the hard work put in by a multitude of forces to make this a success.
Should the $100 million figure prove to be accurate, Merck would pay a fraction of what at least one company has paid in similar settlements, according to Bloomberg News. German drugmaker Bayer AG last year said it had so far paid nearly $1.6 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits involving accusations that its Yaz and Yazmin birth control pills caused blood clots that led to strokes and heart attacks.
Other attorneys representing the plaintiffs include Roger C. Denton and Kristine K. Kraft of Schlichter, Bogard & Denton in St. Louis and Hunter J. Shkolnik of Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik in New York. Plaintiffs lead counsel for In Re: NuvaRing Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 1964, are Paul D. Rheingold of Rheingold & Valet in New York, Steven B. Blau of Blau & Brown in New York, Denton, Kraft and Shkolnik.
The cases are In Re: NuvaRing Litigation, No. 284, N.J. Super., Bergen Co. and In Re: NuvaRing Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 1964.