Essure – Bad Marketing. FDA – Pull This Ad.

If ever a medical device company crossed a line with their marketing, this one has.

Essure, which makes a sterilization device for women, is trying to scare men away from vasectomy in order to drive women to use their device.

“We made men watch footage of an actual vasectomy” says the female overvoice – and then they proceed to show men’s reactions to watching a surgical procedure –  “That’s frickin’ gross, man” being the most memorable quote.

The final tagline – “You can only wait so long for him to man up.”

Yeah – and to be sure he doesn’t, we’ve created this ad.

Slimy, harmful, obnoxius and just plain stupid. A couple’s decision as to which sterilization procedure to have should be one informed by real information, not stupid frat boy marketing.

How dare they?

The FDA should pull this ad.  Now.


Addendum –

I just emailed the FDA at   Feel free to copy my message below and send your own email –

To the FDA –

I find the following ad for Essure both inflammatory and unethical. I am incensed at the impact this ad could have on couple’s informed choices about sterilization.

I ask that you mandate that the company who makes Essure immediately pull this ad, both from the web and from any media outlet where it is playing.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

15 Responses to Essure – Bad Marketing. FDA – Pull This Ad.

  1. I don’t tolerate hormonal BC well. I already have heavy periods, and thus was a poor candidate for a copper IUD. I had a tubal ligation, which failed (within two months, BTW). I’m no longer a candidate for Essure, and wasn’t impressed by the technology in the first place, which is why I chose the ill-fated TL. My SO is dragging his feet re: vasectomy, so we’re back to condoms.

    Thanks a lot, Essure. Good for you, TBTAM.

    BTW, another pet peeve: my SO’s PCP always asks if he’s sexually active, but never inquires about the method of BC being utilized, which would be an obvious opening to discuss vasectomy considering our situation. Double standard, no?

  2. Is this really unethical? For many men, watching the procedure would provoke the response – that’s gross. It targets the wrong audience though.

    If they were to show the TL procedure, the women would react as well.

    Once women withold sex until their partner gets a vasectomy, they will make the appointment and be done with it.

    However, here is my comment to the men that may be considering vasectomy. I had one done after my third child was born. It took place on a Friday afternoon at 4 PM. I was out of the office by 4:30, home by 4:45, and on the couch with a big bag of ice by 5. No sutures. Minor discomfort. I didn’t use pain meds at all. I was at work on Monday taking it slow, but feeling totally normal.

    Haven’t looked back ever.

    Easy and far safer than what women have to do.

    • Schrugglin’

      Can always count on you for the contrarian point of view.

      But c’mon – is this really an appropriate ad from a medical device company? You know in your heart it is not.

      And kudos to you for manning up.



    • >>Once women withold sex until their partner gets a vasectomy, they will make the appointment and be done with it.>>

      Don’t think I’m not considering it.

      OTOH, considering my experience, is it fair to ask my partner to subject himself to surgery? Neither of us was terribly impressed with how the physician involved handled the failure. For starters, she didn’t believe me, and threw up all kinds of roadblocks to discourage me from seeking a second opinion. Talk about unethical.

      Perhaps if men were asked routinely about BC, starting as adolescents, BC discussions would be on a more equal footing. ‘Cause it’s not just my responsibility, as my SO would have found out if I’d decided NOT to terminate the very much unwanted pregnancy that resulted from the surgical failure.

  3. Is in good taste? No. Ethical and taste, however, are mutually exclusive things.

    Does the ad give any false information? It doesn’t. In fact, it just shows the approved procedure. Arguably, you are arming your men with real information that they would want to know to make a permanent decision, not a temporary one. It pushes the concept of informed consent actually.

    Is it offensive? To women it is! Men? Not so much. It merely fuels the argument between the partners. If a guy is open to a vas, he is just going to get the vas. If he is looking for excuses, then this gives it to him. Does that conversation lead to what alternatives might be available? It sure does. The ad makes no claim about vasectomies being safer or less safe than their device. It just emphasizes that some men may want to pursue options other than isolating the marines on the battleship!

    I think that the FDA will be deaf to your complaint on this one…the ad does not put into question the safety or efficacy of the device or the procedure. They will fry bigger fish.

  4. Well, don’t hold your breath for the FDA to do anything. They’re too busy jerking 50 year old cough and cold meds off the market so one company can bring each one out as an exclusuve supplier and make mega-bucks. (That’s what happened with colchicine for gout, ya know).

  5. My husband had a vasectomy because I had been on bc pills for 16 years and wasn’t about to do it for another 10 if not longer. He had talked to some other men about it and understood it would be quick and not too painful. We were also concerned that if I had my tubes tied there may be a chance of a tubal pregnancy. Something a guy can’t do.

    I like Alice’s response to that nurse. If I ever have someone that far up into my business I’ll try to remember it.

  6. Essure does not work for everyone. Please see , Erin Brockovich is investigating for thousands of women in the Us, Canada, Ireland, and Australia who are in debiliating pain every day because of this procedure. What are essure coils made of? They are made with a coil consisting of a nickel titanium alloy, and within that coil are PET fibers. PET fibers are derived from the same plastics in pop bottles and carpet fibers and are a known carcinogen. Myself I recently had a partial hysterectomy to get them removed. Not where I thought I would be at the age of 37. What sickens me is they are using this procedure on 25 year olds. Far too young to have a hysterectomy!!! And as far as protecting from pregnancy….. there are lots of women that still get pregnant, ectopic or not. They got pre-market approval from the FDA and now Conceptus cannot be sued without changing law. Something very, very wrong with this picture…..

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