Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Norplant Plaintiff Cites Deformity, Pregnancy

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Norplant Plaintiff Cites Deformity, Pregnancy

Article excerpt

Faye Crawley of Columbia, Mo., says she has joined more than 300 women in a suit against Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, makers of Norplant.

Crawley and the others claim they suffered permanent damage during removal of the matchstick-size contraceptive capsules, which are surgically inserted just beneath the skin.

The capsules do not dissolve, even after the medication in them is used, so all women with Norplant eventually face removal of the capsules.

Crawley, 33, says her upper left arm is deformed and she has a large scar.

"I have muscle loss, and a concave place on my arm," she said. "Five of the six capsules came out easily, but the sixth one didn't. A lot of scar tissue had built up around it, and the doctor had a hard time getting it out."

The lawsuit, filed in Chicago in September and certified as a class action in June, seeks undisclosed damages and an injunction to prevent Wyeth-Ayerst from selling Norplant to doctors who have not been properly trained to insert and remove it. Crawley joined the suit Wednesday.

Other suits have been filed in Alaska, Texas and Florida.

Audrey Ashby, a spokeswoman for the company, said Thursday in a statement that Wyeth-Ayerst was contesting the decision of the court that certified the suit as a class-action suit.

Dr. Marc W. Deitch, vice president and medical director of Wyeth-Ayerst, said, "We continue to believe that class-action litigation is inappropriate because Norplant removal is an individual procedure that is affected by a number of variables."

He said the variables included how the capsules were originally inserted, the procedure used for removal and "circumstances that are unique to a given patient."

Ashby noted that insertion and removal of Norplant "requires a minor, in-office surgical procedure" and that "the vast majority of Norplant removals are not difficult."

Dr. …

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