Did Drugmaker Hide Risks Of Birth Control Patch?
MSNBC.COM - Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson may have known years ago about the deadly risks of its birth control patch Ortho Evra, according to internal documents obtained by NBC News.
Patient reports between 2002 and 2004 show that Ortho Evra was 12 times more likely to cause strokes and 18 times more likely to cause blood clots than the conventional birth control pill, NBC News' TODAY show revealed Wednesday.
When Ortho Evra first hit the market in 2002, it was a big hit. "Time" magazine called it one of the best inventions of the year and doctors have written nearly 40 million prescriptions for it. But as sales surged, so did claims of injury and even death.
Some experts say the patch is problematic because it delivers a continuous and high level of estrogen — 60 percent more estrogen than the pill. When a birth control pill is swallowed, it quickly dissolves into the system. But with the patch, estrogen keeps flowing into the bloodstream for an entire week.
"With the patch… there's no relief of the body of the woman from getting estrogen," Dr. Sidney Wolfe, Medical Director of watchdog group Public Citizen, told NBC.
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