A recent Bloomberg article reported that Merck & Co. will pay $100 million to resolve thousands of cases filed in state and federal courts by women who were prescribed NuvaRing contraceptive devices believed to have caused potentially fatal blood clots.
The settlement involves an average payout of $58,000 to the women who claimed that the type of progestin used in the ring is twice as likely to cause blood clots that in turn cause heart attacks, strokes, or sudden deaths. The NuvaRing product has been sold in the United States since 2001.
Merck denies any fault in the settlement agreement, which required that at least 95% of the approximately 3,800 eligible plaintiffs accept in order to take effect. The settlement is much less than the $1.6 billion that Bayer AG paid to settle similar suits involving its YAZ contraceptive pills that plaintiffs alleged to cause blood clots leading to stroke and heart attacks.