The American Bloomberg News reports that Johnson and Johnson has spent at least $68.7 million on settling hundreds of lawsuits filed by women who suffered serious illness after using the contraceptive patch Ortho Evra, so avoiding being legally condemned for their negligence:
Of 562 complaints reviewed by Bloomberg News, the vast majority of users alleged the patch caused deep-vein thrombosis, or blood clots in the legs, and pulmonary embolisms, or blood clots in the lungs. Some blamed it for heart attacks or strokes. The complaints blamed Ortho Evra for the deaths of 20 women.
While the US government’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continue to back the patch following changes to the warning label, patient-advocacy groups have been demanding it be taken off the market:
Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, a Washington-based advocacy organization, petitioned the FDA in May to ban the patch within six months, even after the three label changes.
“It still has dangerously high levels of estrogen,” said Sidney Wolfe, director of the group. “There are no unique benefits. If there is a drug with no unique benefits, and it has unique risks, and there are alternatives, why should anyone use it? What is the purpose of the FDA if not to regulate products like that?”
Quite. How long is it they’ve been working on the male pill now? Trying to rinse out every tiny little side effect while we lurch from one contraceptive pill / patch / injection to another dealing with severe mood swings, head aches, weight gain, blood clots and even death on the way? I’m sure there’s plenty of stuff out there – and J&J’s patch is a case in point – that really needs to go back to the lab.
I think my worst contraception experience was with the pill Ovranette. I was prone to bouts of mild depression at the time anyway, but I really do feel like it pushed me over the edge: I was crying uncontrollably every day and couldn’t bear to see anyone. A friend of mine was also having problems about the same time, and it turned out she was on the same pill, while various other friends of friends also had horrible experiences. All of these horrible experiences ended when we changed pills.
Then there’s the I can’t remember exactly how many months long period a friend had when she came off the injection, another was taken off it because the powers that be decided it caused osteoporosis, the list goes on.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the pill is fantastic, and I wouldn’t be without it unless I wanted to have children (ha!) – but it’s only fantastic once you’ve found the one that works for you. And that can be a real nightmare.