When its Products Harm, Bayer Pays
When people think of companies that affect many aspects of their lives, tech giants like Apple or Google may come to mind immediately.
However, the companies who own the majority of brands found in grocery stores, pharmacies, and homes, certainly do not come to mind.
Yet, as the maker of Aspirin, Dr. Scholl’s and Claritin, Bayer is an enormous corporation that owns countless brands used in everyday life. Bayer not only makes over-the-counter pain relief and shoe insoles. They’re also the parent company behind many prescription medications, medical devices, animal wellbeing products, and agricultural chemicals.
A lack of transparency around the safety of Bayer’s products is leaving consumers injured, sick, and even taking lives. Bayer’s Q3 report for 2018 states the company is currently involved in a total of 45,000 legal cases with consumers. Many of these lawsuits stem from a core group of Bayer’s products, which have negatively impacted many consumers and their families.
Carcinogen Exposure from Bayer
Bayer bought agricultural giant Monsanto in 2018 with hopes to expand its own agricultural department and reap the monetary benefits of Monsanto’s popular products. But shortly after the acquisition was completed, Bayer was ordered to pay almost $80 million to a school groundskeeper whose terminal non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was caused by RoundUp (one of the acquired Monsanto products). This weed killer uses the active ingredient glyphosate, which is classified as a probable human carcinogen.
There have been nearly 10,000 lawsuits filed against Bayer by individuals whose cancer diagnoses have been linked to RoundUp use. In many of these cases, the plaintiffs accuse Bayer and Monsanto of selling the product knowing it could cause cancer. Some of the lawsuits report that Monsanto (before it was bought by Bayer) ghost wrote several studies suggesting glyphosate and RoundUp were safe. In another case, lawyers for the plaintiff accused Monsanto of paying outside scientists to publish Bayer-favorable articles under their names. The company has denied these claims. More recently, Bayer issued public statements saying they’re willing to settle the lawsuits. The company’s stock even rose after one judge limited the evidence to be used in one of the RoundUp cases.
Bayer and Women’s Reproductive Issues
Women’s reproductive health has been a commonly discussed issue in politics and news in recent years. Bayer manufactures and sells several medical devices and medications designed for women’s health, including prenatal vitamins and several contraceptive options. Two devices in particular have harmed users, resulting in unsafe side effects, chronic pain, and even hysterectomies to remove the devices.
One of the devices, Essure, is a pair of metal coils surgically implanted into the user’s fallopian tubes to cause permanent sterilization. The coils create scar tissue to prevent any sperm from reaching an egg. To many women, this seemed like a safe form of sterilization with the easiest recovery.
However, many users experienced complications that made it anything but safe and easy. In some cases, women experienced expulsion. The coils would come out of the fallopian tubes, leading to painful scar tissue formation outside the fallopian tubes, or would result in life-threatening ectopic pregnancies. Other complications arose when women using Essure reported instances of coil migration. The coil would pierce the fallopian tube, moving to other parts of the reproductive system and leaving a trail of scar tissue in its wake.
All sales of Essure outside of the United States were stopped in 2017, and the device is no longer available on the American market as of January 1, 2019. There are currently over 18,000 Essure users who have filed court proceedings claiming Bayer wrongfully marketed the device as safe and non-invasive.
Another Bayer-made female contraception that has made headlines is Mirena, a hormone-releasing intrauterine device (IUD).
The IUD is implanted by a doctor, and then can ideally be ‘forgotten about’ for half a decade.
Unfortunately, many women could not simply forget about their IUDs. Some women reported pain and discomfort from the device that they were not warned about. In extreme cases, women experienced device expulsion or migration.
Expulsion is when a user’s body rejects the device, and migration describes instances when the device punctures the uterus and becomes lodged elsewhere in the body This sometimes required surgery to remove the device, and in several instances, women required complete hysterectomies to fully remove the device and alleviate their pain. Because of the frequency and severity of these complications, Bayer has been sued more than 4,000 times over Mirena.
Uncontrolled Bleeding From Bayer Products
However, these can have serious and dangerous side effects if they are not taken properly, or if a patient taking them has a poor reaction. Xarelto, a once-daily blood thinner distributed by Bayer, is a popular prescription that became notorious for not having an antidote.
From the medication’s FDA approval in 2011 until 2018, the FDA had not approved an antidote for the medication. This lack of an antidote proved to be dangerous and even fatal for some patients.
Before 2018, if a Xarelto user had a poor reaction to the medication, it could lead to uncontrolled internal and external bleeding. In addition, the individual’s blood may not be able to clot, and some patients would suffer from hemophilia while on Xarelto.
This uncontrolled bleeding landed many patients in the hospital, and even caused death in some instances. Damages from this medication and its side effects have resulted in more than 23,000 lawsuits filed against Bayer and Johnson & Johnson, and the creator of Xarelto.
Bayer’s products, medications, and devices have damaged consumers’ lives in countless ways. Much of the dangers stem from Bayer’s lack of transparency regarding potential side effects and complications with their products.
Consumers have a right to know what’s in the products they use. They are encouraged to research all medications/devices that a medical professional recommends before they make a potentially life-altering medical decision.
Beyond medications, consumers can further ensure their health and safety in the home by researching the chemicals and ingredients in all products/cleaners. This lowers the likelihood of accidentally bringing a dangerous product from a negligent company into their home.
Image Reference: //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayer