A federal judge in New York threw out nearly 1,300 lawsuits against Bayer over a intrauterine contraceptive device. The judge excluded expert testimony, dooming the plaintiffs' cases.
The plaintiffs all had used Bayer's Mirena and claimed that it had perforated organs and become embedded in or migrated from their uteruses.
But U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel Thursday ruled in a 40-page opinion (PDF) that there was no way a jury could find Bayer liable for the plaintiffs' alleged internal injuries without inappropriately speculating.
“The court reaches this conclusion reluctantly, knowing that it will doom hundreds of cases, but in the court's view it is compelled by the law,” the decision said.
Although the plaintiffs had offered an expert witness to testify that Mirena could cause uterine perforation after insertion, Judge Seibel excluded the testimony in March, feeling the testimony would have been biased.
Bayer maintains that its label includes adequate risk warnings and that Mirena can case perforation during insertion which may be discovered later, rather than migrating through the uterus as has been reported by some patients.
The suits started to rack up in 2011 and were eventually consolidated in 2013 in federal court. The plaintiffs brought myriad claims against Bayer, including negligence, design defect, breach of warranty and fraud.
Mirena first came on the market in December 2000. It's a plastic, t-shaped intrauterine device that delivers the hormone levonorgestrel and is supposed to prevent pregnancy for up to five years in patients.