The birth control patch Ortho Evra has been scrutinized for many years since its introduction in 2002 but leaks filtering from its manufacturer Johnson & Johnson may show that the company knew of certain dangers from the start – yet failed to adequately inform consumers of these risks.
The patch was very well received by doctors and consumers alike, and 40 million prescriptions have been written – allowing for huge profits for Johnson & Johnson. The ease of the patch was welcomed by many. The patch can be placed on an arm, upper or lower back – anywhere it holds well and won’t be damaged. Only needing to be changed once a week, it allows more freedom for those who have difficulty remembering to take the Pill once a day.
But information is coming to light about injuries and deaths occurring due to the patch. One of the main problems experts believe, is the risk of blood clots, strokes and possible heart failure and death, caused by an overload of estrogen emitted from the patch. Compared to the Pill (that contains 60 percent less estrogen) that works quickly as the body digests it, the continuous flow of very high levels of estrogen from the patch over seven days is dangerous.
Documents have been leaked from Johnson & Johnson files that show one employee, Dr. Patrick Caubel, quit his job in 2005, stating in his resignation letter that he could no longer work for a company that knowingly sold a dangerous product, ignoring the evidence of potential fatalities.
Another former employee, Dr. Joel Lippman is suing Johnson & Johnson for wrongful termination, after he had warned of these dangers even before the patch was put on the market, only to witness Johnson & Johnson go ahead with sales.
Due to pressure from watchdog groups, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has launched an investigation two years ago but has still not come to a decision regarding the patch and its dangers.
Johnson & Johnson did start to place (in very small print) warnings on their product in 2006, but detractors believe that’s not enough and the patch is simply too dangerous to be on the market.