Woman who inspired movie joins fight against birth control device

Published: May. 10, 2014 at 1:17 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 24, 2014 at 1:17 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Hundreds of women are claiming a form of permanent birth control is causing severe adverse reactions. It is a device called Essure and it was approved by the FDA in 2002.

Some women who know they don't want any more children are opting for this procedure instead of a tubal ligation.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Women claim unbearable pain caused by form of birth control]

During the Essure procedure a doctor places small metal coils in the fallopian tubes. Scar tissue then forms around the coils to block sperm.

But some women said the coils have broken off in their bodies or migrated, caused excessive pain or bleeding, or an allergic reaction to the nickel in the device. Some women even said that the device didn't work and they still got pregnant.

Christy Lee, of Fairdale, hopes a planned hysterectomy will solve the problems.

"It's very upsetting. I have to take medicine on a daily basis for nausea and vomiting that I never had a problem before Essure," she said.

Famed consumer advocate Erin Brockovich, the inspiration for the movie Erin Brockovich, has now launched a grassroots campaign against the procedure.

She wants to have Essure taken off the market of birth control options.

Brockovich is also fighting the so-called preemption laws, which means when the FDA approved Essure - it gave the device preemption status. So the manufacturer is protected from a suit.

I reached out to Bayer, the manufacturer. In a response Bayer said more than 700,000 woman have undergone the procedure and while the stories from the women are compelling, it's not representative of the hundreds of thousands of women who have relied on Essure.  It also points out the complications were on the product label.

There were studies done before the FDA approval.

Bayer points out a five year study showed the device to be 99.83 percent effective.

The head of the National Research Center for Women and Families in DC which studies the effectiveness of medical products said even five year students aren't long enough for a device meant to remain in the body forever.

To read Bayers entire response, click here.

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