Merck to Dole Out $100 Million in NuvaRing Settlement

Lawsuits alleged that contraceptive caused blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes

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Sandy Huffaker / Getty Images

Organon representetive Sandy Wingfield shows-off a NuvaRing contraceptive September 12, 2003 at the Association of Reproductive Health Professional convention in La Jolla, California

Merck & Co. agreed Friday to pay $100 million in product liability lawsuits that claimed its birth control product NuvaRing caused blood clots that led in some instances to fatal heart attacks, Reuters reports.

NuvaRing, a vaginal ring that acts as a hormonal contraceptive and contains estrogen and progestin as commonly found in birth control pills, has been associated with an increased risk of developing blood clots that can cause heart attack, stroke, or sudden death.

Merck, which is the second-largest drug manufacturer in the U.S., denied any fault under the agreement. But 3,000 people are eligible to participate in the settlement, and 95% of those women will have to participate in order for the deal to take effect.

Merck is getting off easy compared with similar birth control company settlements. Bayer paid nearly $1.6 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits last year surrounding its Yaz and Yazmin birth control pills, which plaintiffs claimed also led to blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes.