Documents have surfaced in litigation that show Ortho-McNeil has been analyzing the FDA’s death and injury reports on women using the Ortho Evra birth-control patch, and has charts that show a higher rate of blood clots and deaths in women on the patch when compared to women who take birth-control pills.
In addition, according to a November 11, 2005, article by the Associated Press, an internal company memo shows that in 2003, the company refused to fund a study comparing the Ortho patch to the company’s Ortho-Cyclen pill because there was “too high a chance that study may not produce a positive result for Evra” and a “risk that Ortho Evra may be the same or worse than Ortho-Cyclen.”
A number of doctors and health-care providers no longer prescribe the patch, saying they do not want to take any chances. In Memphis, TN, obstetrician and gynecologist, Henry Sullivant, told the Wall Street Journal, that he has stopped writing new prescriptions and suggests that his roughly 2 dozen users try other forms of birth control, such as the pill or vaginal ring.
Pennsylvania State University, which provides health services for 42,000 students, is also no longer issuing prescriptions, and according to the Journal, is considering contacting all students who have been given prescriptions, even if they are no longer at the university.