June 9, 2014 — At least 95% of eligible claimants have accepted Merck's $100 million settlement over alleged health risks related to its NuvaRing contraceptive device, which means that the settlement will stand, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports (Salter, AP/Sacramento Bee, 6/5).
Plaintiffs in roughly 3,800 separate lawsuits had alleged that the label for NuvaRing, which has been available since 2001, failed to fully or accurately describe an increased risk of blood clots that can lead to heart attacks, strokes or sudden death (Women's Health Policy Report, 2/11).
In February, Merck agreed to the $100 million settlement. However, U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel said the company had the right to withdraw from the deal if less than 95% of eligible claimants accepted it.
Roger Denton, lead attorney for the claimants, said Thursday that the 95% threshold had been reached. Both Denton and Merck confirmed that the deal was finalized.
Merck reiterated that there is "substantial" evidence showing NuvaRing is safe. "We encourage women to work jointly with their health care providers to discuss the benefits and risks of any contraceptive method before choosing an option that is right for them," the company said.
Denton said, "Hopefully we provide an awareness to the users of this product that just because they are FDA-approved does not mean they are necessarily safe for all users" (AP/Sacramento Bee, 6/5).