Hundreds of women have become pregnant after a long-term contraceptive implant failed. The NHS paid compensations to seven women who were unexpectedly became pregnant amounting to an average of more than £28,000 each. A lawyer said that many women were left traumatized and some decided to undergo abortions when the implants failed.
The hormone-filled rod implant called Implanon is a £90 device is a flexible rod that is insertedunder the skin of the upper arm. It releases the hormone progesterone which stops the ovaries from releasing eggs. It provides protection against pregnancy for up to three years and properly inserted it is more effective than pills.
Implanon is one of the worst mass contraceptive failures to hit the NHS in living memory. A total of 584 women reported unwanted pregnancies and 1,607 complaints to the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Doctors say that the implant is difficult to insert to the arm and is impossible to check if they are properly installed because it is invisible to X-ray. If the implant is installed to deep, it won't work.
Implanon’s manufacturer MSD, a subsidiary of global pharmaceutical giant Merck, has now replaced Implanon with Nexplanon, which has a new pre-loaded applicator and can be detected by X-ray or CT scan. But they have yet to recall Implanon, which raises concerns that women still are buying the implant.