The product, which contains the hormones estrogen
and progestin commonly found in birth control bills, is associated
with an increased risk of developing blood clots that can cause
heart attacks, strokes or sudden deaths. Available to women in the
United States since 2001, NuvaRing is one of several contraceptive
products linked to this higher risk.
Merck, the second-biggest U.S. drugmaker, denied any fault under the
agreement, which must be accepted by 95 percent of about 3,800
eligible patients involved in lawsuits pending in federal and state
A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Roger Denton of Schlichter, Bogard and
Denton, said the settlement, reached after nearly a year of
negotiations, is "an outstanding result and in the best interests of
all the women who have suffered an injury associated with the use of
Under the settlement, Merck would pay a fraction of what at least
one company has paid in a similar settlement.
[to top of second column]
German drugmaker Bayer AG said last year it had paid nearly $1.6
billion to settle thousands of lawsuits involving accusations that
its Yaz and Yazmin birth control pills caused blood clots that led
to strokes and heart attacks.
Merck shares were up 1 percent at $54.32 on the New York Stock
Exchange, in line with a 1.2-percent advance in the ARCA
Pharmaceutical Index of large U.S. and European drugmakers.
(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson;
additional reporting by Jessica Dye; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and
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