Bayer to pay $1.6 billion to settle thousands of Essure lawsuits

Bayer announced Thursday it will pay $1.6 billion to settle the nearly 39,000 U.S.-based claims made against its controversial sterilization device Essure.

Since at least 2016, thousands of lawsuits or reports have been filed against Bayer from women who claim Essure has caused them serious harm. Bayer settled 90% of the 39,000 claims and is in discussions with representatives for the remaining plaintiffs to resolve those lawsuits. The $1.6 billion represents allowances for both the resolved and outstanding claims, the company said in a news release.

Bayer stopped U.S. sales of Essure in late 2018. The device, which is tiny nickel coils implanted in a woman’s fallopian tubes to prevent pregnancy, was approved in 2002 by the Food and Drug Administration and 750,000 Essure devices have been sold. Women have claimed adverse effects from the device such as allergic reactions, persistent pain, abnormal bleeding, hysterectomy, perforation of the fallopian tubes, unwanted pregnancy and the need for surgery to remove the device.

The settlements allow Bayer to “focus on its commitment to women’s health, where it has long been a leader, without the distractions and uncertainties associated with this litigation,” the news release said.

And while the settlements admit no wrongdoing on the part of Bayer, the company said it “sympathizes with all women who have experienced adverse health conditions, regardless of the cause … Bayer recognizes that women want safe and effective reproductive health options that best meet their individual needs and is committed to continuing its investment, innovation and leadership in this important area of health.”

Bayer reported $15.3 million in revenue in the first quarter of 2020, up 4.8% compared to the same quarter last year. Net income also grew in the first quarter of this year by 20% from $1.4 million to $1.8 million.

Correction: The article previously misstated that 90% of the settled claims totaled $1.6 billion but the figure also includes allowances for outstanding claims.

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