Within the past year, many lawsuits have been filed against Teva Pharmaceuticals. These suits allege that Teva’s Paragard IUD fractures upon removal, resulting in fragments being left in the uterus. The plaintiffs claimed this caused them to undergo additional removal procedures, which would have been unnecessary had this defect not occurred. The purpose of this page is to provide a status update on the current state of the Paragard lawsuits as of late January 2021. Other Paragard law firms and websites are providing updates on this litigation, and I would encourage you to follow them here, here, and here.
Certainly, the biggest news in the short history of this litigation was last month when these lawsuits were centralized into an MDL in Georgia federal court. This means there will be a class action in which all federal court cases will be consolidated in Georgia under one judge. So if you have a federal case in California, Texas, Florida, or anywhere, it will end up.
Let’s start out by talking about some of the science behind these cases. Usually, what fuels litigation is that studies come out and lawyers jump on these studies to bring lawsuits. In this litigation, it might be a little bit backward. It took a while for plaintiffs’ lawyers to pick up on the problems with Paragard. Now a new study this year further supports the contention Paragard lawyers are making.
Let’s start with what we found in 2015.
2015 study on IUDs
A 2015 study suggested that increased IUD use would increase the fracture occurrence rate. The authors reported seven cases involving this defect. Researchers found six that involved a hysteroscopic removal. In the seventh case, the broken piece came out on its own. The researchers also found that five cases involved a vacuum-extractor or forceps. They concluded that healthcare providers should recognize the fracture risk because of increased IUD use. The researchers also suggested that prolonged IUD use increased the fracture likelihood. They advised healthcare providers to take “particular care” when removing them.
May 2020 lawsuit in Illinois federal court
Then nothing much happened. No lawyers pounced. But the reports of Paragard IUD complications continued to flow to healthcare providers which invariably leads to more lawyers getting more phone calls.
In May 2020, a woman filed suit in Illinois federal court. She underwent a Paragard IUD removal after having had it inserted a decade earlier. The physician followed Teva’s instructions.
Upon removal, however, the IUD was missing a piece. The woman then underwent an unsuccessful hysteroscopic removal one month later. After two months, she underwent a successful removal.
The woman’s IUD lawsuit alleged that Teva Pharmaceuticals failed to warn healthcare providers and patients of the risk associated with Paragard. She also claimed, not surprisingly, this defect caused her pain and emotional suffering.
September 2020 lawsuit in Missouri federal court
Around September 2020, four women filed suit in Missouri federal court. They claimed the Paragard IUD tended to break during its removal. The women alleged that Teva Pharmaceuticals failed to warn healthcare providers and patients of this defect, which it should have known about.
November 2020 lawsuit in North Carolina federal court
Around November 2020, a woman filed suit in North Carolina federal court. She underwent an IUD removal. She claimed the device fractured during the procedure. The woman alleged that this caused serious and permanent injuries. She also alleged that Teva Pharmaceuticals failed to warn of this risk. The woman claimed she would not have received it had she knew of them.
Centralization in Georgia federal court
Around December 2020, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation centralized over 80 Paragard IUD lawsuits in the Northern District of Georgia. Judge Leigh Martin May will be presiding over these cases. In their transfer order, the panel found that these lawsuits’ common facts necessitated centralization. They rejected Teva’s opposition to centralization. The panel refuted its claim that each cases’ differences would complicate matters by arguing that they are “insignificant” and “not an impediment to centralization.”
January 2021 lawsuit in Tennessee federal court
On January 22, 2021, a woman filed suit in Tennessee federal court. She underwent an IUD removal three years after receiving it. According to the woman, her healthcare provider followed manufacturer instructions. Upon retrieval, an arm was missing. Four days later, the woman had it removed through hysteroscopy and curettage. She alleged that the defective IUD caused severe physical and mental injuries. The woman claimed Teva Pharmaceuticals failed to warn healthcare providers and patients of a defect they should have known about.
January 2021 study on IUD fractures
A January 2021 Case Reports in Women’s Health study concluded that healthcare providers should remain informed on the IUD fracture risk.
It looked at the example of a 38-year-old woman whose IUD fractured during its removal. During the procedure, surgeons found it malpositioned. After a second procedure, the missing piece was successfully removed. The researchers used this example to highlight contributing factors to IUD fractures. They suggested that malpositioned IUDs was one of them.
The researchers report that the device could malposition on its own after many years of anatomic and physiological changes. They also recommend current IUD patients undergo routine screening to determine the device’s positioning within the uterus. The researchers stressed the importance of implanting a care plan that minimizes IUD risks. What this means is that healthcare providers must look at different contributing factors to why IUDs might fracture. What I take from this, aside from the authors’ politically correct commentary, is the manufacturers including Teva need to take a long look at the risks of these IUDs.