Most people who hear the company name Johnson & Johnson, think of baby products, though they actually manufacture much more than that. Regardless of the product, for many the name means safety and quality.
Many of us use their products everyday, some we know are made by them, some we do not. I was shocked as many were that they actually are the makers of the Ortho Evra contraceptive patch. It went on the market in 2002.
It is a patch worn by women to prevent pregnancy. The patch is worn for 7 days at a time, for 3 weeks, and delivers a constant flow of progestin and estrogen. The fourth week you skip a patch and go through menstruation. It works very similar to the birth control pill.
The advantage of course, is you do not have to remember to take a daily pill.
What has recently come to light however, is that the advantage most likely does not outweigh the risks, and even more disturbing is the alleged allegations that Johnson & Johnson knew of the serious dangers, and may have even tried to conceal them from the consumers.
Since its approval for dispensing the patch, over 40 million prescriptions have been written.
In 2005, the warning was added to the label on the prescription, of possible risks, including blood clots, and strokes.
However, before the 2005 warning 23 women had already died of risks associated with the patch. 17 of the deaths were blood clots.
The warning labels would be revised again in 2006 and 2008, when studies indicated higher risks of blood clots.
The first death believed to be a result of the patch was in 2004. Zakiya Kennedy, only 18 years old died of a blood clot. Prior to her death, she was a New York Fashion Student.
25 year old Sasha Webber, of Bay Chester New York died of a heart attack after being on the patch for six weeks. She left two children behind.
NBC claims to have obtained documentation that Johnson & Johnson knew of the high risk possibility, and ignored it.
Former Vice President of Johnson & Johnson Dr. Joel Lippman is suing for unlawful termination, because he would not keep quite about the risks before it was approved for use.
In 2005, Johnson & Johnson Vice President Dr. Patrick Caubel resigned as a result of the knowledge of the high risks, and watching them being ignored.
There are countless lawsuits from people who where either very ill after use of the patch, or had actually died. You can find numerous class action sites from law firms ready to sue.
The difference and the risks that make the Ortho Evra Patch so different from the pill, is that the patch has sixty percent more Estrogen than the pill. Wearing the patch means, that high percentage is a constant flow to the bloodstream.
I expect more and more stories and evidence and possible deaths will surface as more information is sought.
If you are using the patch, you are not advised to stop without talking to your health care provider first.
The same risks that come from the birth control pill, come with the patch, the difference is, with the patch,
You are 3 times more likely to suffer from the following conditions and possible death:
~DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis)
At the time of this writing, there has been no recall of the Ortho Evra Patch. Any changes in that, or any new developments and I will be sure to pass them along to you.
If it is true, that Johnson & Johnson knew of the risks, and went ahead with the patch anyway, the backlash could be huge. I know I trusted the company and brand, and although I never have used the patch, people have lost their lives and loved ones.
There is no compensation for that, but I have a feeling Johnson & Johnson will pay big, in numerous ways.