American Home Products Corp., maker of the Norplant contraceptive, has agreed to settle numerous lawsuits filed on behalf of more than 36,000 women. The lawsuits argued that American Home Products Corp. failed to adequately inform consumers about the contraceptive side effects.
Norplant prevents pregnancy for a period of approximately five years and consists of hormones contained in 5 silicone rods which must be surgically implanted into a patient’s arm. Potential side effects of the drug include nausea, irregular periods, headaches, and depression.
Under the proposed settlement agreement, women who filed suit against American Home Products Corp. before March 1, 1999 would receive $1,500 each. The manufacturer described the settlement offer as “a business decision” and admits no wrongdoing, saying that Norplant’s side effects were adequately described on the product’s label.
A spokesperson for American Home Products Corp. subsidiary Wyeth-Ayerst stated that after five years of legislation, Wyeth-Ayerst has won three jury verdicts, 20 pre-trial judgments and dismissals of more than 14,000 claims against the product. Wyeth-Ayerst, North American President Joseph M. Mahady commented in a written statement, “Our legal success has come at a steep price because lawsuits are time-consuming, expensive and have a chilling effect on research.”