Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Implanon™ Costs New Merck $310K Per U.K. Claimant -- Could Run To $480 Million

New Merck had previously pulled (yet another) legacy Schering-Plough product from the U.K. market -- an implantable birth control stick called Implanon™. In all, some 580 unexpected pregnancies have occurred, thus far -- apparently due to dislodging of the device. It has been replaced with Nexplanon™ (also from legacy Organon), but if all of the 1,600 or so patients complaining about Implanon receive settlements in the vicinity of the first nine claimants, the total will run to around $480 million. Not terribly material to New Merck (given its over $40 billion in annual revenue), but unwelcome just the same.

Here's a bit of the Reuters report, this morning -- do go read it all:

. . . .Since Implanon, a hormone-filled tube inserted in the arm, was first authorised in 1999, a total of 584 women have reported unwanted pregnancies, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said.

In all, 1,607 women have complained about the device, largely concerning adverse reactions such as scarring and other problems.

NHS Trusts have paid nine women a total of nearly 120,000 pounds in damages, with a further 80,000 pounds in costs [about $310,000], the Department of Health said.

Implanon, which is the size of a matchstick and inserted in the inside upper arm, contains synthetic progestogen and should offer three years of protection, if administered properly.

But the plastic tube, which can be inserted by doctors and nurses, were implanted too deeply or became dislodged in some cases. . . .

We'll keep you informed as these cases progress.

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