Erin Brockovich has been advocating for consumers for decades, and Essure — a newer form of permanent birth control for women — is the newest crusade for the famed muckracker.
The name Erin Brockovich is forever associated with the film in which her first foray into taking on city hall was portrayed — and for which Julia Roberts won an Oscar. The by-proxy star now says Essure, a common form of sterilization for women, is an underestimated risk and should be investigated.
Brockovich said Essure, which is a small coil made from nickel and inserted into the fallopian tube, has “injured” thousands of women. The way it works is simple, and has been seen as an advancement over tubal ligation.
Essure works to eventually cause a blockage in the fallopian tubes, via scar tissue growing around the nickel coil. But, Brockovich says, the simple procedure that deliberately blocks sperm from reaching an egg is also one that poses understated risks to the woman using the Essure system.
Brockovich alleges women around the country have reported experiencing nickel allergy, organ perforation, headaches, and other symptoms linked to the Essure system. She said:
“I have been amazed at the number of women who have written to me with their stories and the serious medical issues they are having due to the Essure implant… It’s ridiculous that at any level we try to defend this. If 30 women did suffer harm for unknown reason, we’d investigate. We have thousands injured.”
ABC15 reports earlier alleged adverse effects from Essure, explaining:
“In an Adverse Event Report filed with the FDA on September 19, 2013, a physician describes a patient who had the Essure coils implanted this year going to the ’emergency room with abdominal pain.’ There, a different doctor ‘performed a pelvic exam [and] found the patient’s cervix, fallopian tubes and uterus were necrotic.’ ”
While Erin Brockovich says Essure needs an investigation, the status of the device following its 2002 FDA approval ensures no injured women or families of those who may have a fatal reaction can sue its maker. Earlier FDA data indicates a perforation rate of less than 3 percent in women using the Essure device in early trials.