By Hilary White

SAN FRANCISCO, November 2, 2006 ( – Not for the first time, the manufacturers of the Ortho Evra contraceptive patch are facing two new lawsuits in which plaintiffs say the patch has caused serious illnesses and death. 43 women are suing Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc., a division of Johnson and Johnson Inc. after one woman died of blood clots.

The suits have been filed in the San Francisco Superior Court and allege that the company failed to sufficiently investigate possible problems, and deliberately deceived the public as to the severity of the possible side effects.

Medical reports continue to show that the risk of developing blood clots, pulmonary embolism, heart attack and stroke may be significantly higher with the Ortho Evra patch than with other hormonal contraceptives.

The patch, approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2001, delivers the hormones estrogen and progestin directly into the bloodstream through the skin.

The company is facing approximately 400 similar lawsuits in the US related to the medical dangers of the hormonal contraceptive patch. As of July 2005, at least 23 women had died from side effects of the patch. Lawsuits have also been launched in Canada.

Federal drug safety reports obtained by The Associated Press under a Freedom of Information Act request, “indicate that in 2004—when 800,000 women were on the patch—the risk of dying or suffering a survivable blood clot while using the device was about three times higher than while using birth control pills.”

Read related coverage:
  Woman Sues “Birth Control” Patch Manufacturer for Pulmonary Embolism

Parents Sue After 14-Year-Old Daughter Died with Birth Control Patch

Ortho McNeil Corp Admits Birth Control Patch Blood Clot Connection

Birth Control Patch Claims 23 Lives and Counting


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