Drugmaker to halt sales of controversial birth control Essure

Taking Action

(WRIC) — A controversial birth control product is being discontinued after recent protests, though the maker of the device is calling it a “business decision.”

Bayer Pharmaceuticals, based in New Jersey, announced Friday they are voluntarily discontinuing sales and distribution of Essure at the end of the year. The company called the move a business decision and said there is “no recall or safety concern.”

Sales of Essure had previously been halted everywhere but the United States.

A group of women known as the ‘E-Sisters,’ who have been a driving force behind ending Essure sales, sent the following statement to 8News on Friday:

“Seven long years of fighting to get Essure removed from the United States market has finally paid off. Today’s announcement that Bayer will be halting the sales and distribution of Essure has brought us all to our knees in gratitude, relief, and celebration. Woman will not be harmed  by this device anymore. We have won, we have finally won. These last few weeks leading up to the Netflix premiere of The Bleeding Edge have been a whirlwind. The Tribeca Film Festival premiere, all of the screenings, the rally at Bayer headquarters, Connecticut Medicaid withdrawing coverage of Essure, our final email to FDA commissioner Gottlieb, it put the final nails in Essure’s coffin.” 

Essure consists of two nickel coils inserted into the fallopian tubes to block pregnancy. However, 8News uncovered the FDA has received more than 26,000 complaints about the device ranging from perforation of the uterus to hair loss to allergic reactions.

Protests erupted at Bayer’s headquarters earlier this week. As part of the protests, a group also broadcasted a sneak peek of a new documentary called The Bleeding Edge to Bayer. The film details stories of women who have suffered serious complications. The documentary hits Netflix July 27. 

Bayer disputes claims that the device is dangerous. In a statement to 8News, the company says, “We made a business decision to voluntarily discontinue sales and distribution of Essure in the United States at the end of this year based on a decline in sales in recent years and the conclusion that the Essure business is no longer sustainable. The benefit-risk profile for Essure has not changed.”

A law firm representing woman who claim to have been injured by the device released the following:

“We are pleased that Essure will not be sold anywhere in the world now.  It is big step in the right direction.  However, there are still thousands of women who unfortunately this came too late for. What about them?  What about the women who have the device still in them?”

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