In a press release announcing second-quarter earnings, Bayer AG reported that it has reserved $1.47 billion (1.25 billion euros) for the potential settlement of Essure contraceptive device lawsuits filed against the company. Some of the funds set aside will be used in settlement for other lawsuits the company faces.
Officials described discussions on potential Essure settlements as having recently “intensified” and “have made good progress in recent weeks,” according to the press release.
Bloomberg reported that its analysts spoke on the phone with Bayer CEO Werner Baumann who stressed that the company has not signed a settlement for the Essure lawsuits.
Bayer’s willingness to talk about settlements marks the beginning of the end of a legal mess that has continued for years. Since Bayer acquired Essure in 2013, the company has faced accusations that the Essure contraceptive device caused organ damage and autoimmune problems—on top of unplanned pregnancies.
After the U.S. Food & Drug Administration ordered Bayer to strengthen safety warnings about Essure, the product’s sales dropped. Bayer pulled the device off the market in 2018.
The financials-based press release also gave a nod to the immense product liability litigation surrounding Roundup, citing a total cost of $10.9 billion to support the company’s June 24, 2020 settlement, as well as to manage and resolve potential future Roundup litigation.
In related—and somewhat ironic—news, Bayer U.S. issued a press release announcing a new initiative to help eliminate barriers that prevent women from accessing contraceptives. The company is partnering with humanitarian organization Direct Relief to execute its “We’re for Her” initiative.