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Centralization of Mirena Lawsuits Under Consideration

Centralization of Mirena lawsuits is currently under consideration, as more plaintiffs come forward with reports of serious injury connected to the contraceptive device. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JMPL) is currently weighing a decision to coordinate claims involving Mirena side effects into a single district court location, for the purpose of streamlining pre-trial proceedings.

Motion filed to consolidate federal Mirena lawsuits

The motion to coordinate Mirena lawsuits into a central MDL was filed in January, by multiple plaintiffs alleging the IUD led to complications and the need for surgical removal of the device. These plaintiffs have also stated in their complaints that the manufacturer, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, failed to provide proper warning about potential complications with the IUD. Plaintiffs have requested multidistrict litigation to be located in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Ohio.

In a recent hearing session in San Diego, Bayer told the U.S. JPML they were opposed to the centralization of lawsuits, claiming it would prejudice their defense and could lead to marginal complaints filed. The company has said it would be willing to centralize cases in northern New Jersey, closer to company headquarters. This location is not on the table at this time, possibly due to centralization of hip implant lawsuits already assigned there.

Women filing claims alleging severe Mirena side effects

Currently, there are more than 40 federal lawsuits filed against Bayer involving the Mirena IUD across the country. However, with more than 40,000 reports of Mirena side effects received by the FDA, many expect that lawsuit number to grow to hundreds, or even thousands. Coordination of federal lawsuits into multidistrict litigation could prove beneficial in reducing the amount of duplicate discovery and conflicting rulings from different courts. It could also reduce the amount of time lawsuits spend in pre-trial proceedings and possibly increase odds of a Mirena IUD settlement for injured plaintiffs.

Multidistrict litigation is a common practice for lawsuits involving claims against a pharmaceutical product. Plaintiffs in these complaints typically have experienced similar side effects that make it easy to centralize claims under a single judge. Despite similarities, each case is tried individually, on its own merit. If a decision or settlement agreement is not reached during MDL proceedings, the case is remanded back to the district court where it was originally filed.

Complaints about Mirena IUD not uncommon

Since the Mirena IUD was approved by the FDA in 2000, thousands of complaints have been reported with the device. Common complications with the IUD include migration of the device outside the uterus – sometimes months or years after the original insertion. Plaintiffs claim that warnings on the product label suggest migration typically occurs at the time of insertion, and does not adequately offer information about the possibility of migration later on.

Those who have experienced complications with the Mirena IUD have suffered serious injuries including miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, and perforation of the uterine wall. In some cases, the damage caused by the IUD is long lasting, leaving some women unable to have biological children. In most cases, surgical removal of the IUD is required. However, some women may need a full hysterectomy after using the device, because of extensive internal damage.