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Court sides with Missouri woman who claims she was harmed by Bayer birth control device

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JEFFERSON CITY • A state appeals court sided with a Missouri woman Tuesday in her fight against Bayer Corp. over the safety of its controversial birth control device.

The Missouri Western District Court of Appeals ruled that a lower court had improperly dismissed Jessica Williams’ lawsuit against the German pharmaceutical company.

Williams, a 33-year-old Boonville resident, sued Bayer after she underwent a 2013 procedure to implant a contraceptive device called Essure into her fallopian tubes.

Williams experienced severe pain and later decided to have the device removed. During that procedure, an x-ray showed the small metal coil had broken apart and perforated her uterus.

Williams later underwent a hysterectomy to address the ongoing pain.

Attorney Christopher Dysart of Chesterfield, who represented Williams, said he had not yet analyzed the decision.

Bayer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Williams’ case is just the latest in thousands of lawsuits filed in connection with the Essure contraceptive.

In November, the Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments in a lawsuit involving 92 women who say the device caused medical complications.

An attorney for the company said the case does not belong in the state because only seven residents are among the plaintiffs. Attorneys for the women said the lawsuit belongs in the state court system because clinical trials were conducted here and a national marketing campaign was created in Missouri.

Bayer is in the midst of a $63.5 billion takeover of Creve Coeur-based Monsanto.

The suit claims Essure is flawed, and that Bayer and the original manufacturer, Conceptus Inc., concealed the risks from consumers.

The company stopped selling the product in all countries except the United States in September.

The federal Food and Drug Administration also has asked Bayer for more data on the device and is planning on requiring the most restrictive type of warning on its label, as patients “are not reliably receiving and/or understanding appropriate information” before opting for Essure over other sterilization methods.

The agency also says it is investigating allegations including that clinical trial records were altered to make patient data more favorable.

Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly said the product was no longer being sold in the United States.

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