Feb 6 Merck & Co has agreed to pay $100
million to settle hundreds of lawsuits accusing the U.S.
drugmaker of downplaying serious health risks associated with
its NuvaRing contraceptive device, Bloomberg reported on
Thursday, citing people familiar with the deal.
The agreement, which would settle cases in federal and state
courts, will be announced on Friday and pay about $58,000 per
complaint, according to the report.
Merck is facing more than 1,700 lawsuits accusing it of
failing to adequately warn NuvaRing users or downplaying a
potential increased risk of developing dangerous blood clots
known as venous thromboembolism, according to a recent filing
with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Plaintiffs are seeking damages for a range of injuries
allegedly caused by the birth control device, including heart
attack, stroke and sudden death.
A judge presiding over federal cases, which have been
consolidated in Missouri federal court, has scheduled a hearing
on the matter for Friday morning.
NuvaRing has been available to women in the United States
since 2001. It is one of several contraceptive products that
have been linked to an increased risk of developing blood clots
that can cause strokes and heart attacks.
Should the $100 million figure prove to be accurate, Merck
would pay a fraction of what at least one company has paid in
similar settlements. German drugmaker Bayer AG last
year said it had so far paid nearly $1.6 billion to settle
thousands of lawsuits involving accusations that its Yaz and
Yazmin birth control pills caused blood clots that led to
strokes and heart attacks.
Merck spokeswoman Lainie Keller declined to comment on the