OPD: 29 April 2014
Edited by Laurence Bouvard
There are problems with the Bayer sterilization procedure known as “Essure” in the United States. More than 7,000 women have reported serious side effects after undergoing the procedure. Erin Brockovich, an iconic figure among environmental and consumer protection activists has now taken up arms against Bayer.
Several days ago, Erin Brockovich stood outside the Supreme Court building in Washington and addressed an issue that she has championed throughout her entire adult life: clean water. The environmental activist loudly complained that U.S. Marines and their families stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina had been obliged to consume contaminated drinking water.
The tall blonde standing at the side of the little American consumer has been a common image in the United States for nearly 15 years—or at least since Julia Roberts played Erin Brockovich in the acclaimed eponymous anti-Pacific Gas and Electric Hollywood film. Now, the 53-year-old is a hero of environmentalists and consumer advocates in America, invited as a guest on talk show after talk show. Organizations that draw her attention have an easier time getting publicity for their causes.
Now the group CBG—or the Coalition Against Bayer Dangers—has taken advantage of that strategy and Erin Brockovich has become the most prominent activist of the latest CBG campaign against the pharmaceutical company. The campaign maintains Bayer’s sterilization procedure known as Essure is, first of all, not always effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies and secondly can also damage the internal organs of women who undergo the procedure.
According to CBG, serious side effects have been suffered by over 7,000 women in the United States. Bayer refutes the charges and maintains that Essure’s safety has been proven in clinical studies.
But Erin Brockovich isn’t convinced. The woman who started out as a paralegal and who now makes her living researching the cleaning up of environmental messes and protecting consumers is famous for a stubbornness she conceals behind a brilliant smile. On her Internet homepage, Brockovich provides women an opportunity to express their displeasure with the Essure procedure. She also told ABC that she makes no money from her campaign, adding that she supports a woman’s right to decide which method of birth control she uses, but says it’s not right if women aren’t informed about dangerous possible side effects of the chosen method. She suggests Bayer should remove the procedure from the market as soon as possible.
Bayer’s annual general meeting takes place this Tuesday in Cologne, Germany and Brockovich in all likelihood will be in the thoughts and minds of Michelle Garcia and Angela Lynch, the American women who want to raise public awareness about what they see as the dangers of “Essure.”
In preparing for their journey to Germany, the two may have run into Brockovich’s characterization of herself: She refers to herself as a modern-day David who loves to grapple with the Goliaths of our times.
Erin Brockovich has never been short on self-confidence.
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