Health watchdogs and a manufacturer have moved to ease concerns about the effectiveness of a popular contraceptive implant. Newspaper and TV stories today have highlighted the fact that over a period of 11 years some 584 women have become pregnant despite using a Implanon.
There have also been more than 1,600 reports of adverse reactions to the device, which is designed to prevent pregnancy for three years.
The NHS has paid compensation to several women because of the failures, Channel 4 News reported last night.
But the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) said that these were relatively small numbers of failures and the implant maker, MSD, said no contraceptive was 100% effective.
MSD added that unwanted pregnancies may occur if the implant was not correctly inserted, and said it had a failure rate of less than 1% if inserted correctly.
The implant is a small plastic rod which releases hormones into the bloodstream, and is inserted under the skin of a woman's arm by a nurse or doctor.
The MHRA said it had also received complaints from doctors and nurses about difficulties inserting the device.
Late last year Implanon was replaced with a device called Nexplanon, which is designed to be inserted more easily.
The MHRA says although the implant had been replaced, "the safety of Implanon remains under close review and should new evidence emerge of a particular safety issue then we will take appropriate action”.
Nine of the 584 women who reported an unwanted pregnancy used the terms "device failure", "device dislocation", "device ineffective" and "device difficult to use" to describe their experience.
Others reported scarring and problems with removing the 40mm long implant.
A lawyer for some of the 14 women claiming for personal loss and damage said many had not realised the pre-loaded applicator had not released the implant.
In a statement, manufacturers MSD said: "The basis for successful use of Implanon is a correct and carefully performed subdermal insertion of the implant in accordance with the product instructions.
"If the implant is not inserted in accordance with the instructions and on the correct day, this may result in an unintended pregnancy. In addition, no contraceptive is 100% effective."
Solicitor Stephanie Prior spoke to the BBC Today Programme about the compensation claims brought by women whose Implanon contraceptive inmplant failed. Click here to listen to the interview.