Erin Brockovitch Takes on Bayer

Erin Brockovich (played by Julia Roberts in the 2000 movie) is the legal clerk and environmental activist who took on Pacific Gas and Electric in 1993 over a cluster of cancer cases related to water contamination in Southern California.

Brockovitch is presently championing 8,360 women damaged by a new permanent “sterilization” device called Essure. Essure, consisting of a pair of nickel coils “hysterocopically”* inserted into the fallopian tubes, first came on the market in 2002.

First marketed by Conceptus, Essure was heavily promoted as a safer, more effective and more economical alternative to tubal ligation. I find all this a litte surprising, given that laparoscopic** tubal ligation is an extremely safe and effective procedure. Moreover the cost difference between the two is a little over $700. Rhe average cost of inserting Essure coils is about $2300, compared to $3,000+ for tubal ligation.

The $2,300 doesn’t include the cost of having the coils removed if there are complications.

Owing to heavy marketing, more than 750,000 women worldwide have had Essure coils inserted into their fallopian tubes. Bayer pharmaceuticals purchased the patent rights to Essure in August 2013.

According to the Facebook private support group, 8,360 have experienced problems with Essure. Complaints range from persistent nausea and abdominal cramps to hemorrhaging and/or infection related to the perforation of the uterus, bowel or fallopian tube. None of the 8,360 women were warned about these potential side effects.

To date, there has been one death linked to Essure

The 2006 FDA Pre-Emption Rule

Some of the women who share their stories on Brockovitch’s Essure website want the product totally banned. Others, seeking compensation for their medical costs and lost time from work, simply want to overturn the pre-emption rule the FDA enacted (thanks to massive Big Pharma lobbying) in 2006.

The FDA pre-emption rule protects corporations from lawsuits for FDA-approved drugs and medical devices. It maintains the federal FDA-approval process pre-empts state liability laws.

For more information or to sign a petition of support go to:

* Hysteroscopy is a procedure performed by inserting a thin, lighted tube through the vagina, uterus and fallopian tubes (in the case of Essure insertion). Eggs travel through the fallopian tubes from the ovaries to the uterus.

**Laparoscopy is a procedure performed by inserted a thin, lighted tube through a slit in the abdominal wall.