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Essure: Women in England take legal action against sterilising-device maker

Lawyers have begun legal action on behalf of 200 UK women against the makers of a sterilisation device, after claims of illness and pain.

The device, a small coil called Essure, was implanted to prevent pregnancies.

Manufacturer Bayer has already set aside more than $1.6bn (£1.2bn) to settle claims from almost 40,000 women in the US. It has withdrawn the device from the market for commercial reasons but says it stands by its safety and efficacy.

The metal coil was inserted into the fallopian tube to cause scarring, blocking the tube and preventing pregnancy. 

Introduced in 2002, it was promoted as an easy, non-surgical procedure - a new era in sterilisation. But many women who had the device fitted have now either had hysterectomies or are waiting for procedures to remove the device.

Tracey Pitcher, who lives in Hampshire, felt she had completed her family and did not want any more children.

Her doctor strongly encouraged her to have an Essure device fitted, she says. But after it had been, she began to feel very unwell.

"I just started to have heavy periods, migraines, which I had only ever had when I was pregnant so they were hormonal," she says. "My back was so painful I'd wake up crying in the middle of the night with pains in my hips and my back."

Tracey says she battled to persuade doctors to take her symptoms seriously. But the only information she received was from a Facebook group.

"... there's nobody there, there's no support apart from people that we've found ourselves, no-one will listen, because it's just 'women's things'."

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Source: BBC News, 15 November 2020


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