Slater and Gordon announce contraceptive class action

By Grace Ormsby|14 August 2018

Slater and Gordon has declared it will pursue a class action against Bayer, the manufacturer of contraceptive device Essure.

A statement from the firm says hundreds of women across Australia have suffered severe complications from the device which was withdrawn from the domestic market for ‘commercial reasons’ in May 2017.

Just last month, the device was similarly removed from the US market.

Essure is a permanent contraceptive implant comprised of a metal coil that expands to anchor the device in the fallopian tube. In some women, the Essure device has corroded, exposing women to nickel poisoning. It has also caused migration and perforation of the uterus and other organs.

Complications from the device can include irregular menstrual bleeding, pelvic or abdominal inflammation and pain, pain during intercourse, reduced libido, stiffness, muscle pain with symptoms extending to fatigue, hair loss and rashes.

Bayer has not released any information about how many of the devices had been sold in Australia or around the world prior to being taken off the market.

The class action is open to any woman who has suffered complications as a result of have the Essure implant inserted in Australia. Slater and Gordon will consider whether the product was inherently defective, according to associate Ebony Birchall.

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“Essure was hailed as the new wave of contraceptive devices. Unlike traditional permanent contraceptive surgery, Essure was marketed as being fast, effective and minimally invasive, it could be inserted in your doctor’s office,” she said.

“However, for the women who have experienced complications it has been incredibly damaging. It has literally turned their lives upside down.”

Ms Birchall said that for most women, “the only solution has been to have a complete hysterectomy.”

Slater and Gordon’s statement named Tanya Davidson as a woman who has dealt with severe effects from the Essure she had inserted in 2010.

She said that as a busy working mum she couldn’t afford to take time off, so the non-invasive procedure appealed to her. Instead, Ms Davidson says “it has been eight years of hell.”

She has suffered hair loss, severe menstrual bleeding, chronic fatigue, gastric issues, stabbing ovarian pain and loss of cognitive function.

“The loss of cognitive function has been the scariest as it just feels like it continues to get worse,” Ms Davidson said, explaining she was terrified that she was experiencing the onset of early Alzheimer’s disease.

She said doctors told her for years that the symptoms were in her head and they couldn’t be related to the device but Ms Davidson was diagnosed with a nickel allergy and had the device removed in February 2016.

The procedure to remove the Essure broke the device, and Ms Davidson had to undergo a hysterectomy six months later due to damage caused by the remaining fragments. She still suffers from side effects.

Ms Davidson said “there must be other women out there who are in the same boat and I want them to know they are not alone.”

Slater and Gordon announce contraceptive class action
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