Oral arguments regarding the proposed centralization of federally-filed Essure birth control lawsuits have been canceled. Per an Order issued by the U.S. Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on August 12, plaintiffs have requested that their motion seeking consolidation of the federal Essure docket be withdrawn.
Court documents indicate that at least 30 Essure lawsuits have been filed in various federal courts on behalf of about 1,000 women who allegedly sustained serious injuries due to the contraceptive implants. Last month, a group of plaintiffs petitioned the JPML to consolidate the cases in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where a number of those claims had been filed.
In a new motion filed with the JPML on August 11th, the same plaintiffs noted that a judge in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has since ordered that the 11 Essure cases pending in that jurisdiction be consolidated for discovery and pretrial proceedings. As such, they have asked the Panel to withdraw their original Motion for Transfer.
The JPML granted the request on August 12th, and also vacated its Order scheduling oral arguments on the matter for September 29th.
Essure coils are indicated for women seeking a permanent method of birth control. Made of nickel and titanium, the implants are inserted into the fallopian tubes via the vagina, where they promote the formation of scar tissue that eventually blocks the tubes. Essure coils were brought to market by Conceptus, Inc. in 2002. In 2013, Conceptus was acquired by Bayer.
This past April, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) ordered Bayer to add a new black box warning – the strongest possible safety warning – to the Essure label, after an agency review uncovered more than 5,000 reports of unintended pregnancies, miscarriages, stillbirths and severe pain and bleeding that persisted long after the coils were implanted. The FDA has also directed Bayer to conduct a 3-year Essure study to obtain “important information about the risks of the device in a real-world environment.”