Conceptus, Inc.’s product Essure was an implantable contraceptive device used by millions of women in the U.S. and abroad. Germany-based Bayer AG acquired Conceptus in 2013 for $1.1 billion. In 2016, the FDA required a safety warning on Essure’s label and Bayer stopped selling it in 2018.
Unfortunately, thousands of women experienced adverse effects using the now-withdrawn device. Many claimed it caused excessive bleeding, pelvic pain, migraines, organ damage, unintended pregnancies and miscarriages. Many of those women claim that Essure remained on the market despite these adverse consequences because Bayer and Conceptus failed to properly report injury complaints linked to the product.
Around 39,000 lawsuits are in progress against Conceptus and Bayer in the U.S. They were consolidated into two large groups of cases in the courts of California and Pennsylvania. Now, Bayer has agreed to settle approximately 90% of those U.S. cases for $1.6 billion. So far, no cases have been tried.
According to Bloomberg, Bayer’s decision to settle the cases was to avoid the “distractions and uncertainties associated with this litigation.” It has not admitted any wrongdoing or liability.
Also, the settlement only applies to suits in the United States. Approximately 100,000 British women also got the implants, and many of them also suffered similar adverse effects.
“Do women in the U.K. not feel the same pain? Have they not endured the same suffering?” said one U.K. lawyer in a press release. “It’s now time for Bayer to be held to account and to compensate the thousands of women in the U.K. who have suffered avoidable pain and suffering.”
Bayer may be reconsidering its acquisitions
The proposed settlement which, again, only covers 90% of the U.S. cases, amounts to more than Bayer paid for Conceptus. In June, Bayer proposed a $12.1 billion settlement of most claims related to Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, which allegedly causes cancer. Bayer bought Monsanto in 2018 for $63 billion.
Since the Monsanto acquisition, Bayer’s shares have dropped in value by more than a third.
Bayer continues to dispute that Roundup causes cancer. Although it lost at three trials so far, it appealed each verdict. Its shares rose 0.5% upon the announcement of the Essure settlement.
If you have been sickened or injured by a defective drug, you may have legal recourse. Discuss your situation with an attorney experienced in pharmaceutical litigation.