African health minister Aaron Motsoaledi has introduced a new contraceptive implant called Implanon to combat pregnancy and give patients an alternative to pills or intrauterine devices (IUDs). Implanon is inserted into the upper arm and lasts for three years, whereas IUDs such as the Mirena IUD are inserted into the uterus through the vagina.
Sales of the Mirena IUD have increased over the past few years, as well as complaints of serious complications related to the device. Women have filed thousands of Mirena side effects complaints, including bleeding, organ damage and device migration when the device perforates through the uterus.
The IUD’s manufacturer Bayer Pharmaceuticals is facing several Mirena lawsuits alleging that the company downplayed risks associated with the device. In 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a Mirena warning to Bayer, alleging that the manufacturer made unsubstantiated claims about the device and presented it as safer than it is.