Bayer finally pays for Essure damages, but women’s injuries still go ignored
This week, news circulated that Bayer is offering $1.6 billion to settle claims filed by women who have been injured by its birth control device Essure.
Over the past years, Natural Womanhood has detailed the ongoing saga of Essure, the sterilization device that caused thousands of women severe side effects and irreparable damage. During its 16 years on the market, Essure harmed women so badly that in 2018 the FDA required prescribers to provide patients with 22 pages of informed consent information about its risks. After that, plus a Netflix documentary vividly telling of its harms, Bayer ultimately removed Essure from the market later in 2018.
The road to the Essure settlement has been long, winding, and painful for the women injured by severe side effects such as bleeding, blood clots, chronic pain—and even, in rare cases, death.
As a pair of 4 centimeter long metallic coils inserted into the fallopian tubes, Essure causes permanent scarring as a way to sterilize women without the need for surgery. The product was introduced to the U.S. market in 2002, until Bayer removed the device in 2018 citing lagging sales, while denying that it was because of product safety concerns. As of December 31, 2019, the FDA required that all unused units of Essure be returned to Bayer, so that American women could no longer be implanted with the device.
While the $1.6 billion payout is expected to settle the claims of 90% of the women affected by Essure, Bayer still refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing or liability for the damages the device caused. To the women suffering from emergency hysterectomies because Essure broke or migrated, to ectopic pregnancies and stillbirths, to uterine or fallopian tube perforations, Bayer continues to refuse to acknowledge any wrongdoing.
With Facebook groups on Essure full of thousands of women detailing their harrowing experiences with Essure, there can be no doubt that the injuries caused by the device have been real and devastating. Bayer’s abdication of responsibility is another unfortunate reminder that pharmaceutical birth control is not in the business of truly helping women.