Jury finds for Norplant implant manufacturer

The first jury trial of the Norplant implant system has ended with the jury finding for the manufacturer, Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories of Philadelphia. A jury in the State District Court of Browns ville, TX, listened to more than two weeks of medical testimony, then took less than three hours to return a verdict in favor of the company. The suit was filed in behalf of a woman who claimed she suffered medical problems, including severe menstrual bleeding, headaches, anemia, and mood swings, and that she was not properly informed of the product’s potential side effects.

The Brownsville trial represents the first Norplant case to go before a jury. Of the other cases that have approached the threshold of a trial over the last four years, 14 resulted in a summary judgment in favor of Wyeth-Ayerst, and the others were withdrawn by the plaintiff. The only other case that has gone to trial ended in a mistrial at the request of the plaintiff. A total of 7,000 plaintiffs’ claims have been dismissed in the Federal District Court of Beaumont, TX. (For more on these dismissals, see Contraceptive Technology Update, July 1997, p. 88.)

The company operates the Health Care Providers Network, a toll-free consumer line ([800] 934-5556) that offers referrals to providers experienced with Norplant insertions and removals. Wyeth-Ayerst sponsors the Norplant System Provider Support Center, which can be reached at (800) 922-0877. It offers information on the Procedures Instruction Program, which links providers interested in learning insertion and removal procedures with experienced instructors. It also connects callers to the Norplant Consultant Network, which offers phone consultations with experienced Norplant instructors and health care professionals.

Free professional support materials, including a model arm instructional aid to demonstrate insertion and removal techniques, video library, and additional patient education materials, are available by dialing the toll-free number.