At the start of the year the Irish Medicines Board announced that a reported 32 women in Ireland have experienced unintentional pregnancies while implanted with the implanon contraceptive device.
The defects in these devices came to light in Britain where 1,607 women reported problems to the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency, 584 of whom became pregnant while using the implanon contraceptive device. It is believed that 14 of these UK women have received compensation with the NHS having paid out over £200,000 due to unplanned pregnancies as a result of the implant.
What is the Implanon Contraceptive Device?
The implanon contraceptive device is a hormone filled tube inserted under the skin of the forearm. It releases the female hormone, progestogen, preventing pregnancy for up to three years. However, it has now emerged that women have become pregnant despite having the implanon implant. In October 2010, Implanon was replaced by Nexplanon.
What Damages can a Woman who received a Defective Implanon Contraceptive Device expect to receive?
In Byrne v. Ryan, Mr. Justice Peter Kelly took into account the shock and emotional distress caused to a woman who had twins due to a failed sterilization. While the pregnancy and birth of her twins was considered in awarding damages of €90,000, damages for rearing the children were not awarded as Mr. Justice Peter Kelly agreed with an English judgment that “the privilege of being a parent is immeasurable in money terms”. In this instance, the woman was awarded a further €10,000 for having to undergo a second sterilisation procedure due to the failure of the first.
Therefore, women who had unplanned pregnancies due to the failure of the implanon contraceptive device may be entitled to damages for the pregnancy and birth and associated pain, distress, but due to public policy it is unlikely damages would be awarded for rearing the child.
Who is deemed responsible for the failure of the device?
Recipients of defective Implanon Contraceptive Devices may be entitled to claim for damages against the doctor who implanted the device on medical negligence grounds. The manufacturer Schering-Plough, contend that the doctors incorrectly implanted the device.