Another pharmaceutical company is faced with evidence that its product causes injury and death. Ortho McNeil, a subsidiary of the pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson, makes a birth control patch, called Ortho Evra, that has been linked to increased risk of blood clots and death. The manufacturer recently issued a warning regarding these problems with the patch, after evidence mounted that women using the patch die and suffer blood clots at a rate three times higher than women using the birth control pill. The injuries are caused by increased levels of estrogen absorbed into the bloodstream from the patch. The patch exposes women to 60 percent more estrogen than the pill. On the Ortho Evra website, it is stated that one year after the patch was first marketed, it had become one of the most popular birth control choices for women.
Based on an internal company memo, Ortho McNeil refused to fund a study which would have compared the Ortho Evra patch to the company’s Ortho-Cyclen birth control pill. The company was afraid that the results of such a study may not be positive for the patch. However, the company now states that it plans to conduct a study for the patch, similar to studies previously conducted with the Pill. The Ortho Evra website states that prior to marketing the patch, it had been studied on over 3,000 women.