This week, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered all Mirena multidistrict litigation (MDL) to be transferred to the Southern District of New York under Judge Cathy Seibel. "The purposes of this transfer, or centralization, process are to avoid duplication of discovery, to prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, and to conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary," the Panel's website states. In this case, the move will provide accessibility to evidence and defense witnesses via proximity to Bayer Healthcare LLC headquarters. Plaintiffs filed the motion in January, and Bayer opposed the transfer, stating it would prejudice the company's defense.
Since the FDA approved the Mirena intrauterine device in 2000, it has received more than 45,000 complaints from women who suffered injuries when the device migrated outside of the uterus. Bayer could face just as many product liability lawsuits.
Mirena litigation plaintiffs claim that Bayer failed to provide adequate warnings or understated this migration risk which, in some women, has caused ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, potential infertility, and the need for several surgeries in order to find the device. Others have suffered infection, abscesses, pelvic inflammatory disease, and intestinal obstruction and/or perforation.
Bayer is also being sued over deceptive marketing practices. The company claimed that Mirena would cause women to "look and feel great" and lead to increased levels of intimacy, romance, and emotional satisfaction, when, in reality, it caused weight gain, back and breast pain, and acne. The FDA sent Bayer a warning letter in December 2009 for violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
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