Merck & Co. (MRK), the company that produced the defective contraceptive NuvaRing, may pay out $100 million in order to settle thousands of lawsuits, reports Bloomberg.com.
A New Jersey judge held the decision, which hinges on whether or not enough women decide to participate in the accord. If the settlement goes forward, it would resolve about 3,800 cases in federal and state courts across New Jersey.
Greater than 200 women have filed lawsuits against Merck, arguing that the drugmaker sold its NuvaRing when the company knew it posed a higher risk of heart attack-inducing blood clots than comparable products. NuvaRing is a hormonal-vaginal contraceptive that uses both progestin and estrogen contained in a ring to prevent pregnancy.
The settlement needs 95% of the plaintiffs to participate in the agreement in order to move forward. If not, Merck can walk away from the settlement deal. If the deal goes forward, Merck would pay only a fraction of what other rival drug companies have paid in similar settlement deals. Bayer AG (BAYN) paid more the 1.6 billion last year to settle claims over its Yaz and Yasmin birth control pills, which women alleged caused blood clots that led to heart attacks and strokes.
NuvaRing has been on the market in the U.S. since 2001, but in 2011 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration linked the product to a higher risk of blood clots.
We will keep you updated as this story unfolds.
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