Johnson & Johnson, the makers of the Ortho Evra birth control patch, settled a lawsuit filed on behalf of a 14-year-old- girl who died after using the patch. The lawsuit was settled for $1.25 million.
The litigation involved 14-year-old Alycia Brown, a resident of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, who died as the result of two blood clots in her lungs on May 7, 2004. She had been using the patch for several weeks leading up to her untimely death.
Johnson & Johnson is currently facing over 2,400 Ortho Evra lawsuits filed by women who used the patch. The majority of the women claim they suffered strokes or dangerous blood clots in their legs or lungs. Johnson & Johnson has already settled dozens of these cases confidentially. The Alycia Brown case is the first to offer a glimpse into how much money the company paid to resolve a case and avoid a public trial. A trial which would undoubtedly bring into view the company’s safety concerns about the drug before it came to market in 2001.
The confidential Brown agreement was brought to light when it was attached to a lawsuit filed on behalf of the survivors of Zakiya Kennedy, who was 18 when she died on April 2,2004, after using the patch.
Ortho Evra lawyers are claiming that the company failed to heed warning signs about the dangerous side effects associated with the patch and that the company knew that the patch caused more blood clots and deaths than the birth-control pill.
The Food and Drug Administration warned in November 2005 that the patch may cause dangerous blood clots and expose women to 60 percent more estrogen than oral contraceptives. In February 2006, another study found a 200 percent increase in the risk of clots compared with women who took the pill.
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