NBC News has obtained an internal letter of resignation of former Johnson & Johson VP Dr. Patrick Caubel indicating that a clash over the birth control medication Ortho Evra led to the doctor’s resignation. NBC reports:
In 2005, Johnson & Johnson Vice President Dr. Patrick Caubel suddenly quit, saying in his resignation letter, "I have been involved in the safety evaluation of Ortho Evra since its introduction on the market. … The estrogenic exposure [of the patch] was unusually high, as was the rate of fatalities."
His letter, which was obtained by NBC, said the research was "compelling evidence" that the company ignored. Therefore, he wrote, "it became impossible for me to stay in my position as VP."
NBC also states that another former VP is "is suing the company for unlawful termination after he says he blew the whistle on the patch’s dangerously high levels of estrogen, even before it came to market."
Ortho Evra has been linked to a higher rate of blood clot and stroke.
The Food and Drug Administration has failed to pull Ortho Evra, but lawsuits continue, and so Civil Justice appears to be the only factor that may lead to the demise of Ortho Evra. While litigation is ongoing, NBC reports that Johnson & Johnson has paid about "$68 million to victims, a small number compared to the $1.6 billion they have made on sales of the patch."
The Today Show also provided a thorough review of NBC’s investigation: