By: Krystle Crossman
For about a week I hadn’t been able to breathe. It felt like someone was sitting on my chest all the time. I passed out while sitting on the couch. Finally I went to see a doctor. After a CT scan I was told I had 132 blood clots in my lungs, one headed directly for my heart. I was then told that if I hadn’t come in I would have dropped dead without any warning. Why was this happening? I was a relatively healthy person. Immediately the doctor told me that I needed to take out my Nuvaring birth control and that I was being rushed to the hospital. I didn’t make the connection to the birth control and what was happening until much later, just like so many other women across the country.
Lawsuits have come up over the last few years that have been raising questions about how safe the Nuvaring really is. It is a simple method of birth control that is convenient because you barely have to think about it. You insert the hormonal ring, leave it for three weeks, take it out for a week, and then put a new one in. The problem is that originally when it came out there was no mention of the fact that the third-generation progestin hormones that are in the Nuvaring have double the chance of blood clots as the second-generation hormones that are found in other birth control methods. Many women have no problem at all but the few that do have life-changing events and some have even died.
A lawsuit was filed by 3,800 women who were affected by the Nuvaring. Merck has now begun to settle the claims but for many it’s not enough, especially for those who have lost a loved one. The lawsuits stated that the company that originally made the Nuvaring, Organon, did not warn patients of the elevated risks for blood clots. Merck, the re-seller of this drug, did not admit that there was any fault with themselves or Organon but put $100 million into a settlement account to be distributed among those who filed a claim.
Erika Langhart, a 24 year old woman from Phoenix, died as a result of multiple blood clots that gave her a heart attack while she was home alone. Her parents are not resting and are not agreeing with this settlement. They state that Merck is getting away with something criminal by being able to throw such a small amount of money (beneficiaries must split this and it does not work out to enough to even cover medical or funeral costs) at those who suffered and not admit fault. They are setting up a non-profit organization that will warn women of the dangers of this drug called “Informed Choice for Amerika” to honor their late daughter and to hopefully save someone else’s daughter in the process.