A lawsuit over the safety of a contraceptive device used in thousands of patients in Australia from about 1999 to 2018 began in the Victorian Supreme Court this week.
It is a class action lawsuit, which is when multiple people sue a defendant for the same or similar reasons.
Here’s what you need to know.
What’s the issue?
The plaintiffs in the class action (the women who are suing) allege the contraceptive device, called the Essure implant, carried defects that caused physical and psychiatric injuries.
The Essure implant inserted metal coils into the fallopian tubes to permanently stop the possibility of falling pregnant. It’s been alleged the implants caused inflammation, and risked the migration of metals into other parts of the body.
The women say these risks were not disclosed and that the healthcare companies who sold it owed the plaintiffs a duty of care for their safety.
How it worked
The head plaintiff is Sarah Turner, who had the Essure device implanted when she was 27.
Turner suffered chronic inflammation after the operation. She also experienced a chronic adjustment disorder that resulted in increased depressive and anxious moods.
There are six defendants being sued by the plaintiff, including pharmaceutical giant Bayer who was involved in the design, development and promotion of the Essure implant.
Background on Essure
The Essure implant was supplied in Australia from about 1999 to 2018. It has now been deregistered as a health device in Australia.
An official safety alert for the Essure implant was issued in 2017, which said that some people weren’t warned of the possible risks of using it.
A recall for the unused stock was announced in the same alert.
In a statement released yesterday, Bayer (which makes up four of the six health bodies being sued) said it had “strong defences and will continue to defend itself vigorously in Court”.
“We are confident that the evidence in this case will demonstrate the company is not responsible for the alleged injuries.”