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NuvaRing Settlement|Tentatively Approved

ST. LOUIS (CN) - Federal judges in St. Louis and New Jersey have approved a $100 million settlement to resolve all federal and state court claims against the NuvaRing birth control device.

U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel called the settlement "a fair resolution," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The agreement is contingent on at least 95 percent of eligible claimants opting into the program by March 10.

Most of the more than 1,500 nationwide cases have been consolidated into federal courts in St. Louis and New Jersey; settlement hearings were held at both venues.

U.S. District Judge Brian Martinotti also endorsed the settlement after presiding over the hearings in New Jersey.

NuvaRing is a flexible plastic ring inserted into the vagina. It releases birth control hormones that prevent ovulation, but has been blamed for causing potentially fatal blood clots .

The lawsuits claimed that Organon, which is owned by New Jersey-based Merck & Co., failed to design and test NuvaRing properly and failed to disclose potential hazards.

Merck denied fault under the settlement agreement and indicated that the $100 million payment is designed to satisfy all NuvaRing cases filed nationwide as well as certain claims filed in the future.

Merck indicated there are about 3,800 eligible participants in the settlement plan, a number which includes more than 1,850 lawsuits as well as claims that have not been filed in court.

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