Saturday, 25 September 2010

Did Johnson & Johnson Hide Risks of Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch?

It’s the question California pharmaceutical liability lawyers, Public Citizen and victims’ families are asking. When did Johnson & Johnson learn about the serious risks of its Ortho Evra birth control patch? An investigation by MSNBC found that between 2002 and 2004, the best-selling patch was about 18 times more likely to cause blood clots than birth control pills, and 12 times more likely to cause strokes.

The biggest factor contributing to the increased risk of strokes and blood clots is the high amount of estrogen the patch delivers. With the birth-control pill, the estrogen dissolves in your system. However, with the patch, the estrogen keeps pumping into your system, flowing through your bloodstream for almost a week. Experts estimate that the patch delivers about 60% more estrogen than birth-control pills. That makes it much more dangerous and riskier than the use of the pill.

Several medical experts believe that the patch is more dangerous than other forms of birth control, although all hormone-based contraceptives are risky. This comes from the increased amount of estrogen that is delivered to the body. In 2006, Johnson & Johnson changed the label on the patch packaging, including a warning in fine print about the increased risk of blood clots. The company like so many others, hopes that this fine warning will relieve it of all liability.

Doctors continue to prescribe the Ortho Evra birth-control patch. Since it emerged on the market, more than 20 million prescriptions have been written for it. The Food and Drug Administration refuses to ban the patch outright, in spite of petitions by consumer safety group, Public Citizen. The appeal was made two years ago, and the FDA has not made a decision about whether to ban the patch. Johnson & Johnson in the meantime has quietly continued to settle product liability lawsuits, paying out an estimated $60 million so far to victims.

The company also faces other similar questions from California pharmaceutical liability attorneys about when it received information about defects in its DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System hip impants.

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