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NuvaRing® MDL Lawsuit Update (MDL 1964): NuvaRing® Settlement Opt-In Deadline Extended Until April 9

Kristine KraftA $100 Million settlement was approved by United States District Court Judge Rodney W. Sippel in the NuvaRing® Multidistrict Litigation In re: NuvaRing® Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 1964, Case No. 08-md-1964) on February 7, 2014. The terms of the settlement require that at least 95% of eligible claimants opt into the settlement program.

“The deadline for eligible claimants to opt-in originally was set for March 10, 2014.  As expected, the deadline for eligible claimants to opt-in has now been extended to April 9, 2014, which was an extension that was incorporated into the Settlement Agreement, with the expectation that additional time would be needed to communicate the Settlement Offer to clients,” says Kristine Kraft, Plaintiffs’ Liaison Counsel and Co-Lead Counsel in the NuvaRing® MDL.  She adds, “we are happy to report that there continues to be an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the settlement.  To date, no objections have been reported from any of the more than 120 law firms participating in the suit.  As a result, we have every expectation that we will reach the 95% participation rate and the settlement program will be funded by Merck. Clearly, the attorneys involved believe that it is in the best interest of the affected women to participate in the settlement.”

Schlichter, Bogard & Denton, LLP are leaders in the national NuvaRing® Multidistrict Litigation and have been appointed by Judge Sippel to serve in leadership roles on behalf of injured women against the manufacturers of NuvaRing®. In particular, Kristine K. Kraft has been appointed to serve as Plaintiffs’ Liaison Counsel and Co-Lead Counsel, and Roger C. Denton has been appointed to serve as Plaintiffs’ Co-Lead Counsel in the Multidistrict Litigation (MDL 1964).

NuvaRing®, which is manufactured by Merck and its Organon subsidiaries, is a small and flexible vaginal birth control ring that received FDA approval in 2001. It is a combination hormonal contraceptive that contains estrogen and a third generation progestin, desogestrel. Despite the fact that there were numerous alternative second generation progestins available, Plaintiffs allege that NuvaRing® was intentionally designed to contain the third generation progestin, desogestrel. Plaintiffs further allege that as a result of defendants’ own clinical trials and independent studies on the topic, defendants knew that desogestrel – as a third generation progestin – carries a higher risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in comparison to other hormonal birth control products on the market containing second generation progestins. In 2007, the consumer watch organization, Public Citizen petitioned the FDA to remove all third generation contraceptives, which would include NuvaRing®, from the market. However, in January 2013, the FDA responded by denying Public Citizen’s request.

The NuvaRing® label was revised in October 2013. Although the “unknown” language (i.e., it is “unknown” whether NuvaRing has a different risk of blood clots in comparison to other birth control) was removed from the label (see Revised Label), the FDA allowed the company to update the label to include some epidemiology studies, but not others. In particular, the revised October 2013 label includes the results of the company-funded TASC study (finding that users of NuvaRing® did not have an increased risk of VTE in comparison to users second generation birth control products), per the revised label. However, the revised label does not include the results of an independent study conducted by Dr. Øjvind Lidegaard, as published in the British Medical Journal in May 2012, finding that users of NuvaRing® had nearly double the risk of suffering a VTE in comparison to users of second generation products).

Schlichter, Bogard & Denton, LLP is a unique law firm that aggressively represents its clients injured as a result of dangerous pharmaceutical medications and unsafe medical devices. The attorneys at Schlichter, Bogard & Denton, LLP who represent victims harmed by pharmaceutical manufacturers include Roger Denton, Kristine Kraft, Beth Wilkins Flieger, Ashley Brittain Landers, and Tara Rocque. With hard work, creative thinking, and strong trial skills, we have earned an outstanding nationwide reputation by representing thousands of individuals who have suffered serious injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of dangerous pharmaceutical medications or medical devices, please contact us toll-free at 1-800-873-5297 for your confidential and free consultation.


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