Another medical device has come under scrutiny and is the subject of multidistrict products liability litigation. Perhaps it should be even more accurately stated that yet another birth control device has been revealed to be an apparent defective medical device for some people. A woman in a state neighboring West Virginia has sued the companies that are collaboratively responsible for manufacturing and marketing a device called the NuvaRing.
She sued the companies on legal theories of products liability, negligence and several other principles of recovery. She reported pain in her chest, breathing problems and extreme discomfort shortly after starting with what she now believes was a faulty medical device. She ultimately learned that a pulmonary embolism had developed, i.e., a blood clot in her lung.
The suit alleges failure to warn about the high risk of pulmonary embolism and related medical problems that can develop from the product’s use. The shocking fact that consumers and their attorneys sometimes learn in such cases is that companies often have research material and evidence in their files that conclude that a certain medical risk is high or significant for the product. It is often also discovered that there are internal letters and memos by engineers, medical experts and others where the risk of having to pay injured consumers is compared to the financial gain to be made.
The companies actually add up all of the damages that they may incur from products liability suits and see how that compares with the huge profits to be made. The profits most often seem to win out. The product is marketed knowing that hundreds or even thousands of consumers are going to suffer medical injury.
It’s not yet known whether the NuvaRing companies knew in advance that people in West Virginia and elsewhere would suffer injuries like the plaintiff’s in this case. However, the plaintiff’s complaint suggests as much. Nonetheless, the question will be answered as the discovery of the defendants’ internal records proceeds apace with respect to this seemingly defective medical device. If knowledge of specific harm was written off in anticipation of huge profits, those injured as a result may want to consider demanding punitive damages against the companies.
Source: The Pennsylvania Record, York Co. woman files NuvaRing products liability complaint, Jon Campisi, Nov. 18, 2013