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Olympian Scoffs at Merck's NuvaRing Settlement

Megan Henry Megan Henry

World-class skeleton athlete Megan Henry who missed the Sochi Olympic games after experiencing life-threatening side-effects from the Nuva Ring contraceptive device is calling Merck's $100 million settlement offer to affected women "laughable." is reporting on the $100 million settlement offered to Henry and nearly 4,000 others who were involved in a class-action lawsuit against Merck, including family members of women who had died from complications.

“Plaintiffs can either opt in or not, but the settlement is a laughable offer to rectify damages, considering Merck brings in over $4 billion in profit. A settlement offer of $100 million across nearly four thousand people is hardly compensation,” Henry told LifeSite.

“Just for comparison's sake, other birth controls such as Yaz paid out over a billion dollars in settlements,” says Henry.

Henry was referring to the $1.6 billion paid to victims of Yaz and Yasmine birth control pills last year. These pills, which are still on the market, contain a type of synthetic progestin that have a much higher risk of blood clots.

The Merck settlement comes with the stipulation that 95 percent of the victims have to accept it in order for there to be a settlement. If they do not, there is no settlement.

“It will be hard [to accept the settlement],” said Henry. “A lot of families who lost daughters are just heartbroken. They feel they cannot morally accept the compensation, and other people just feel they cannot accept knowing that Merck is essentially getting away with murder.”

One of those heartbroken families is that of 24 year-old Erika Langhart who died on Thanksgiving Day, 2011, after suffering a massive pulmonary embolism which was caused by Nuva Ring.

When confronted with Merck's offer, Erika's mother, Karen, said "We would rather, quite frankly, die than take blood money from Merck."

Henry feels the same way, but says there is not likely to be any opportunity to fight this in the future. "You either accept, knowing that Merck is able to keep this product on the market with no repercussions, or you don't accept, and they still win. They win either way.”

For women's' sake, Henry believes “the FDA should make [Merck] beef up their warning label, so women will think twice about using NuVaRing.”

She also says “doctors are unaware of [NuVaRing's] dangers, so it is frightening to think what the consequences may be for patients if the doctor does not seem to have any worry about the risks.”

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