WHITEHOUSE STATION, NJ – NuvaRing, the world’s largest round contraceptive device, has seen its image go pear shaped owing to a dungstorm of lawsuits filed on behalf of persons who have died or have been otherwise discommoded while using the safe-ish sex device. Consequently Merck pharmaceutical is launching Let Freedom Ring, an ad campaign designed to “square the circle with NuvaRing,” said Jeanne Larouche, a Merck official.
NuvaRing—which was released in 2001 by Organon, which was later acquired by Schering-Plough, which is about to merge with Merck—is a flexible, plastic ring that contains a four-week supply of hormones virtually guaranteed to prevent pregnancy. It is lovingly inserted into the vagina where it nestles against the cervix, a place problematic for the pooling of pregnancy-related fluids. After remaining there for three weeks, NuvaRing is removed and a “normal” period results.
That sounds like a plan, but thanks to some truly reptilian side effects attributed to NuvaRing, that plan has turned into every lawyer’s cream dream. More than two hundred lawsuits have been filed against Organon/Schering-Plough in the United States alone blaming NuvaRing for a rash of outcomes from fatal blood clots to bleeding hemorrhoids to a purple, flood-like menstrual discharge to a nasty odor that can be detected at distances up to five feet, and even further for dogs.
“I suffered severe emotional distress [when I began] using NuvaRing,” said Christine Thomas, a claims adjuster for Progressive Insurance. “Every time I have company someone asks if I recently got a cat.”
According to Merck’s Larouche, such complaints amount to “splitting hairs” when compared to NuvaRing’s considerable benefit.
“First of all, NuvaRing does not have to be inserted and/or removed by a trained medical professional,” said Ms. Larouche. “Most women elect to insert NuvaRings themselves, but NuvaRings also can be installed for a nominal fee at ear-piercing boutiques, nail salons, and select auto parts retailers around the country.”
Ms. Larouche revealed that the Let Freedom Ring campaign will be rolled out February 8 when T-Mobile releases a NuvaRingtone of 50 Cent’s “Baby by Me.”
“We picked that song because we want to make contraception fun again,” said Ms. Larouche, “and this is only the beginning. We plan to have NuvaRing tosses and other contests at all the big summer musical festivals, starting with Bonnaroo. We’re also going to be a major sponsor of the new Lilith Fair tour, though I’m not sure who picked that one.”
After noting that she was wearing a NuvaRing “as we speak,” Ms. Larouche said that “a high-end jewelry company” will soon be offering NuvaRing mood rings that change colors according to a woman’s reaction to a man, perfect for “men on the go with speculums in tow”. She also expects NuvaRing hoola hoops to be on the market by spring. Even Mattel is getting into the act, including mini NuvaRings with its 2010 anatomically correct Barbie doll line.
“The squeaky ring gets the grease,” laughed Ms. Larouche, “and we’re telling women it’s time to grease up. After all, doing it without a condom isn’t just more fun, it’s exciting and dangerous. Our research shows that women really like that.”
In related news, Merck announced plans to donate a million NuvaRings to Third World countries. “We’re especially targeting those countries where guano packed into the vagina is still the primary means of birth control,” said Ms. Larouche, making a face not unlike the one we did during the entire interview.