Bayer to pay $1.6 billion to settle lawsuits over Essure contraceptives

Bayer Cross
Photo: Bayer AG

Bayer AG (OTCMKTS: BAYRY) agreed to pay approximately $1.6 billion to settle almost all of the lawsuits alleging that its Essure birth control device harmed thousands of women.

The German multinational pharmaceutical and life-sciences company said its settlement agreements with the law firms representing plaintiffs will resolve 90% of the nearly 39,000 filed and unfiled lawsuits in the United States.

The plaintiffs alleged that Bayer failed to disclose the serious side-effects of using Essure. They claimed that they suffered serious injuries such as perforation of the uterus and fallopian tubes, abdominal pain because the birth control devices broke into pieces. The plaintiffs also claimed to have experienced menstrual issues, miscarriages, and unintended pregnancies from using Essure.

Bayer denied wrongdoing and in December 2018. The company decided to stop selling Essure in the U.S. Bayer used preemption as a legal defense to dismiss Essure lawsuits. The company argued in courts that it is protected from lawsuits alleging that it failed to warn the public regarding the risk of using Essure because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a preeminent entity approved the birth control device.