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The Mirena IUD is Becoming More Popular – and the Lawsuits are Piling Up

You know a contraceptive drug or device is in trouble when the lawsuits begin to multiply.

A growing number of American women are turning to intrauterine devices (IUDs), reports Lawrence Finer of the Guttmacher Institute. Of all American women using birth control, some 7.5 percent had IUDs implanted by 2009. These numbers were double what they had been a few short years before.

As befits an employee of a population control organization, Finer is pleased that women are choosing “long-acting” contraceptives over “short-acting, less effective methods.” Fertility delayed is fertility denied, as we say in demographic circles.

Most of the increase in IUD use has come from sales of Bayer’s levonorgestrel IUD, a so-called “second generation” contraceptive, which is marketed under the trade name “Mirena.” No surprise here. Since Mirena was approved by the FDA in 2000, Bayer has spent tens of millions of dollars advertising the IUD directly to the consumer.

As a result of this advertising campaign, Finer notes, “Women born in the United States appear to be “catching up” to women born outside the United States, who already had a higher level of use, likely due to a greater prevalence of these methods in Mexico.”

The implication here is that women outside of the U.S. are more “advanced” in their contraceptive use than their benighted American sisters, but nothing could be further from the truth. The reason that IUDs are more prevalent in Mexico is simple: the Mexican government coerces women into accepting them. Either accept an IUD or have your tubes tied, new mothers are told. What would you choose?

The same is true of Finer’s factoid about high IUD use in China. The reason that 41 percent of women in China have IUDs is because China’s population control authorities insist that women either wear IUDs or be sterilized after they give birth. That’s not good news for women. Indeed, it’s not good news for anybody, unless of course you fear human fertility.

Bayer’s advertising campaign for Mirena, although expensive, has more than paid for itself. More than a million American women have been convinced to spend nearly $800 apiece buying the IUD. This has generated over a billion dollars in revenue for the German pharmaceutical giant, a good bargain by anyone’s calculation.

Bayer and other abortifacient contraceptive manufacturers also stand to make a lot of money from Obamacare. The HHS mandate will require all healthcare plans to cover the full range of contraceptive methods, including Mirena, at no cost to the patient. In other words, we taxpayers are about to make Bayer shareholders rich.

Finer refers to IUDs, including Mirena, as “contraceptive devices,” but IUDs act by aborting already conceived children, not by preventing their conception. An IUD is, in effect, a tiny abortion machine that prevents pregnancy by physically obstructing the normal process by which a tiny baby implants in the uterus of its mother.

Mirena, it is true, is more than just an IUD. It also contains a synthetic “hormone” called levonorgestrel that some months prevents ovulation. Even when what is called “breakthrough ovulation” occurs, the progestin sometimes still prevents conception by thickening the cervical mucus and preventing sperm from reaching the ovum. Still, when this doesn’t happen, a baby can be conceived and begin its 5 to 7 day journey down the Fallopian tube. But when it reaches the uterus itself it encounters the grim reaper in the guise of an IUD and its life is over. An early-term abortion occurs.

We should not forget the side effects, which fall into two different categories. Many women react badly to having their bodies laced with a powerful, steroid-based drug, levonorgestrel. Others find that having a foreign body lodged in their uterus can be an uncomfortable, even unhealthy, experience.

Finer claimed in an interview with Fox News that IUDs do not increase the risk of pelvic infection and jeopardize women’s future fertility.

But the list of unwanted side effects of Mirena is quite long. These include amenorrhea, intermenstrual bleeding and spotting, abdominal pain, pelvic pain, ovarian cysts, headache, migraines, acne, depression, and mood swings. The Truth About Mirena website contains hundreds of detailed accounts of such side effects by women who have personally suffered from them. It makes for grim reading.

One of the more dangerous side effects is that Mirena may become embedded into the wall of the uterus, or it may actually perforate it. In fact, there have been reports of the IUD actually migrating outside the uterus through a hole of its own making, there to cause scarring, infection, or damage to other organs. If the device embeds in or perforates the uterine wall, surgery will be required to remove it.

With all of these side effects, it is no surprise that the number of lawsuits is proliferating. If you type “Mirena” into your search engine, along with information about the IUD, a number of ads offering legal representation to those harmed by the device will pop up.

In the beginning, Bayer aggressively marketed Mirena to a “Busy Mom” demographic as a hassle-free form of birth control. But in 2009, the FDA issued a warning letter to Bayer after finding its Mirena promotions overstated the efficacy of the device, presented unsubstantiated claims, minimized the risks of Mirena, and used false and misleading presentations during in-home events touting the IUD. FDA berated Bayer for its so-called “overstatement of efficacy”, taking issue with marketing claims touting Mirena’s purported ability to improve a woman’s sex life and help her “look and feel great.”

According to the FDA warning letter, “at least 5% of Mirena IUD users reported decreased libido in clinical trials.”

Bayer is probably already settling lawsuits out of court as quickly and as quietly as possible, so as not to discourage other potential users of Mirena. When their legal costs begin to mount, their sales begin to drop, and their profit margins disappear, it will be time for their end game: this will involve taking the contraceptive off the market, at least in the U.S., and reaching a once-and-for-all settlement with the entire class of affected users.

I do not think Bayer is at all daunted by this prospect.

In fact, I believe that Bayer, like all contraceptive manufacturers, is already working on a successor contraceptive that will, in a couple of years, be released with great fanfare. This new “magic pill” will be heavily marketed directly to consumers. It will be sold by the millions. It will earn hundreds of millions for the company. It will not really be “new,” however. Rather, it will closely resemble an existing contraceptive drug or device, but it will have a new name, a slightly different chemical formula, and a slightly altered appearance to preserve the fiction that it is an entirely new product.

Like its predecessor, it will be foisted on a new generation of women until the side effects manifest themselves. At which point it, too, will be removed from the market in turn.

What a market plan.

11 thoughts on The Mirena IUD is Becoming More Popular - and the Lawsuits are Piling Up

  • Really?
    I’m not sure why you felt it necessary to write a whole article when your idea could have been boiled down to two exceedingly biased sentences:

    “I believe that women should stay home and have babies 24/7. No reasonable, moral woman could possibly want to delay having children, therefore I dismiss the discussion about when to use an effective (though not perfect, since nothing is) method of birth control by calling it ‘a tiny abortion factory’.”

    If you don’t want to use Mirena, don’t use it! Problem solved! Women are smart enough to evaluate their options and make the best choice for them and their families. It may be forced on women in other countries (which is a practice I definitely disagree with) but here in the US it is not. It is just one option among many, including your right to not use any birth control whatsoever.

    • If a women has a baby and
      If a women has a baby and then decides she wants to be smart and not have another one (because pregnancy happens fast usually after having one baby within a year) and there is many reasons why someone would want this option. Like my sister says Everytime….it was her choice and soley hers to have it. She had a baby and got pregnant a month later….and she felt it was the most safest way to go because not everyone can remember taking a pill or w.e

  • The comments on this page
    The comments on this page made me smh literally. I guess some people just want the fastest easiest method available no matter the consequences. There are plenty of non-harmful birth control methods available….if you’re not lazy. Guess it just depends on whether you want to put the effort in now, or when the synthetic hormones take over your body and you start getting all the side effects. THEN you will go to the doc and get meds for weight, acne, high blood pressure, depression, etc. and it just keeps on going….

    • Grow Up
      “There are plenty of non-harmful birth control methods available….if you’re not lazy”??? Judgmental much?
      I am far from lazy, much like every other mother and wife out there I have a life that is chaotic and when I had my third child at the six week checkup in febuary 2004 I was told that if I got pregnant again it would be a high risk pregnancy, that I would be placing both the child and myself in risk. My husband and I talked about our options and spoke with my doctor, deciding that I would get my tubes tied but we had to wait because of my age ( law requirement’s) and complete a few counseling sessions. So my doctor told me about Mirena, and I read the pamphlet, it claimed to be safe, the doctor said it was safe.Needless to say I began having severe cramping, spiking random high fevers and loss of sex drive or ability. I went to the doctor and asked that it be removed, they said it had fallen out and that all this pain was in my head that maybe it was ppd. The attacks continued, when I had my tubes tied I asked them to check again, I told them I would have noticed something like it falling out, they did an exploratory and didn’t find anything, again telling me it was in my head. I continued to have attacks,(and will for the rest of my life) some so severe that I cannot move, or talk and often wish I would just pass out from the pain so that I can have some relief. I continued to go to doctors, hospitals, specialists. I was checked for all kinds of things, went through all kinds of testing and got the same general response, its mental not physical. I had random problems that no one could explain, ending up in the hospital for kidney problems and digestive system problems, and no cause, no solution.
      In January of 2010 I went to the hospital er again, with the same pain, the same symptoms, and they assumed my appendix had burst and were preparing me for emergency surgery, they took me for a cat scan right before and guess what, they found the merina, it had gone through my uterus, and was in my intestines, I had to have a section of my insides larger than a golf ball removed to get it out, I have permanent scar tissue, I still have the attacks and have just found out that I probably have pid, which I did not have before any of this, and considering I have been with my husband for 14 years and am generally a very healthy (when I am not having an attack), clean person.
      The only effective natural birth control is abstinence, which is not rational when your married or love your partner. Don’t judge people so quick, learn to use some rational thinking skills. And if you cant, then do everyone a favor and keep your negative comments to yourself.

      • Woah……I am so sorry for
        Woah……I am so sorry for what you have been through with that so-called “safe” IUD. I, myself, had it put in in April of 13′ after my last son was born. About a month ago, I felt something strange in my female region while taking a shower..I looked down, and the damn mirena had fallen out of me, and was sitting on top of the tub drain! Three days later, I had a massive menstral cycle, including blob-like clots. Now, I am having another heavy cycle, bleeding through a tampon every 1-2 hours. I’m not sure if my system will ever return to normal! I guess, your experiences are alot worse though, so I consider myself sonewhat lucky, SO FAR. I hope you are planning to confront or sue the Mirena company for all you have been through. If you want a new friend to chat with, feel free to look me up on fbook. My name is Katie Bragg. I live in Maine. Best wishes.

  • Mirena User
    I am currently using Mirena for the third time and have not had any side effects what so ever. In my opinion, I am having less of the synthetic hormone inside of my body than in the pill. I feel better knowing I am not ingesting these hormones, instead the hormones are directly at the source.

    • Reply

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