LIFE & CULTURE

Australian Women Join Class Action Over Contraceptive Implant

Hundreds if not thousands of women could be affected
Class action against contraceptive implant Essure

Australian women have joined forces to launch a class action case against the manufacture of contraceptive implant Essure after suffering severe complications from the device.

Legal firm Slater & Gordon have taken on the case against pharmaceutical giant Bayer and are hoping to get it in court before the end of the year.

News.com.au reports that Bayer recalled the device in May 2017 after women started reporting severe side effects, ranging from irregular periods to hair loss, pelvic or abdominal pain, loss of libido, pain during sex and unplanned pregnancies. In severe cases, some women had to undergo a hysterectomy to have the device removed.

“A lot of women have said to us that they suffered for years and didn’t realise it was the Essure device was the problem,” lawyer Ebony Birchall told AAP. 

Dozens of women have already come forward but Birchall says hundreds if not thousands of women could be affected and is urging them to come forward.

“Many of their symptoms have gone away after they had the product removed. Unfortunately, though the only way to remove the product seems to be having a hysterectomy.”

Ms Birchall says Essure was marketed as the “new wave of contraceptive devices” which was a “minimally invasive” alternative to traditional permanent contraceptive surgery.

Class action against contraceptive implant Essure

According to Nine News, three months after Bayer pulled the device from sale, the Therapeutic Goods Administration issued a hazard alert about the product.

“For years doctors told me that the symptoms were in my head and that they couldn’t be related to the device,” says Tanya Davidson, a mother-of-four who had the device implanted in 2010 and is taking part in the class action. “I know there must be other women out there who are in the same boat and I want them to know they are not alone.”

Davidson was diagnosed with a nickell allergy and had the device removed, reports The Guardian.

Bayer has not provided further information on how many women were implanted with the device.

A spokeswoman said Bayer was aware of the Slater and Gordon class action and that the company was “committed to the proper and objective consideration of any legal claim made should such a claim be lodged”, reports The Guardian.

“Bayer respects the rights of every individual to seek legal advice and take such further action as they may be advised,” she said. “Bayer will continue to support healthcare providers in their management of all patients using Bayer medicines and medical devices. We encourage women who have any questions about Essure to contact their healthcare provider.”

The implant has been recalled worldwide and other similar suits are currently underway in the United States, Canada and Great Britain.

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