UK Women Given Green Light to Sue Bayer Over Contraception Device Complications


Two hundred British women, claiming to have suffered physically and mentally after having a permanent contraception device called the Essure coil implanted, have been given the green light to pursue a group lawsuit against the German device manufacturer, Bayer. These women allege that the device has resulted in continuing pain and multiple complications, including excessive bleeding.

The Essure coil, a small metal device inserted into the fallopian tube, caused scar tissue to form around it, creating a sperm-blocking barrier. Introduced to health markets in 2002, the coil was marketed as a simpler alternative to surgical sterilisation. However, some women have reported not only constant pain after implantation but also complications, with circumstances so drastic that some had to have the device or even their uterus removed.

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Deborah Chalk, 39, a mother of three, started experiencing health complications after having the Essure coil implanted following the birth of her third child. Enumerating her health problems, she said, “I began to suffer with headaches, abdominal pain, heavy bleeding, rashes, extreme itching and mood changes.” Her situation became so severe that she had to privately arrange for a hysterectomy to remove the device, after which she felt an “immediate relief”.

A senior official at Bayer has stated that the company prioritises the safety and efficacy of its products and empathizes with anyone experiencing health difficulties related to their products. Despite the claims, Bayer maintains that the safety profile of the Essure device remains robust. As per the company, it conducted 10 clinical trials and over 70 real-world observational studies, indicating a positive benefit-risk profile.

However, Lisa Lunt, who is representing the 200 women in the lawsuit and is the head of medical-product claims at the global law firm Pogust Goodhead, stated, “Thousands of women have been fitted with the Essure device, around the world, and sadly many of them have suffered adverse effects from this product.” She hopes Bayer will acknowledge and compensate their clients for their suffering and pain.

Bayer is facing global legal action over the Essure device. To date, the company has paid out more than $1.6bn (£1.3bn) in the United States to settle claims brought on by nearly 39,000 women, without accepting any liability or admitting to any wrongdoing. As per the US Food and Drug Administration, women who are successfully using the device “can and should continue to do so”.