Pregnant women win £200,000 payout over pill implant contraceptive failures

Nearly £200,000 in compensation has been paid to women who have become pregnant or been hurt after they were fitted with a popular contraceptive implant.

Pregnant women win £200,000 payout over pill implant contraceptive failuresThe NHS has received more than 1,000 complaints about Implanon, a device that had been hailed as the future of family planning.

The procedure involves injecting a plastic implant under a woman’s skin, which releases the “pill” hormone progesterone, guarding against pregnancy for up to three years.

The procedure is regularly given to under-16s who are not deemed responsible enough to remember to take oral contraceptives on a daily basis.

Figures obtained by Channel 4 News show that 584 women who had the hormone-filled tube inserted into their arms have reported unwanted pregnancies to the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency.

There have been a total of 1,607 complaints about scarring and other problems associated with the device, the majority made by doctors and nurses who claimed it was difficult to insert properly and could not be checked afterwards. In the most serious cases, NHS Trusts have offered settlements to seven women totalling nearly £200,000.

Some women who took Implanon terminated pregnancies and suffered the breakdown of relationships.

One woman, named as Lara, said her marriage collapsed due to the stress. “I don’t want kids at this time. It really disturbed me,” she said.

MSD, which manufactured the implant, said it was replacing Implanon with a new contractive implant named Nexplanon.

In a statement, it added that the active ingredient would remain the same but, unlike Implanon, the new implant would show up on X-rays and CAT scans. The applicator has been modified, the company said.

It added that a training programme was available for health professionals involved in fitting the devices.

Family planning clinics in England have reported rapidly increased use of contraceptive implants, from 16,000 women in 2005 to nearly 82,000 in 2010. Implanon, which cost £90 per treatment, was more than 99 per cent effective.

A spokesman for the MHRA said: “The reports we received from health care professionals and consumers played a strong role in the update of the device.”


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