Courts across the country continue to be closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and are not expected to fully reopen until later this year. Despite these closures, the Essure Mass Tort Team at Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP has continued to diligently move these important cases forward.
Women across Canada continue to live in pain and suffering from the impacts of Essure. Originally manufactured and marketed by Conceptus (and later bought out by Bayer) as a safe and effective permanent and irreversible birth control, it quickly became apparent that Essure could cause severe complications, including but not limited to, dangerous and painful perforations of the fallopian tubes, uterus and other organs, chronic pain, allergic reactions to nickel contained in the coils, and autoimmune reactions. For more on Essure, please see here.
In 2017, the sale and distribution of Essure was discontinued in Canada. The United States quickly followed suit and by the end of 2018, Essure was withdrawn from the market in the United States. In the United States, litigation against Bayer has been prolific. The first jury trials in California and Pennsylvania were slated to begin in early 2020, until COVID-19 brought them to a halt, and the trials have been postponed indefinitely. It is hoped that they will begin in the first or second quarter of 2021. Recently, in the United States Bayer has begun to explore discussions of potential settlement with various parties, although no formal resolution has been reached.
Since 2018, HSH has been involved in investigating and launching mass tort actions against Bayer. It remains to be seen if the tentative discussions in the United States could impact ongoing litigation in Canada.