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Bayer CEO Retires Citing Self-care While 23,000 Women Suffer

— November 5, 2015

Bayer’s CEO, Marijn Dekkers, plans to retire at the end of 2016. He states that the demands of life as a CEO put a lot of stress on his health and time. He wants to protect his health and spend more time with his family. Yet, he continually stands by the safety of a product that has devastated the lives of over 23,000 women. Essure has cost these women their health and time with their families, things that Mr. Dekkers says he values. Apparently, those things only count if your a CEO and a man.

Marijn Dekkers, CEO of Bayer, is retiring at the end of 2016. At 58, eyebrows have been raised at his announcement. Many CEOs work well into their 60s, but Mr. Dekkers has other ideas. While I normally applaud people for engaging in self-care, my applause at Mr. Dekkers’ announcement won’t be forthcoming anytime soon. Bayer manufactures one of the most heinous and dangerous medical devices on the market, Essure. I cannot be happy as the Bayer CEO retires citing self-care while 23,000 women suffer and he ignores them.

Dekkers is known for turning Bayer from a musty chemicals giant into a focused life sciences organization. Why then, is he calling it quits next year? His contract was extended until the end of 2016 by his request. After that, he’s coming to the U.S. to put his three daughters through college here. As he says, “I need flexibility to spend more time in the US and not have to be at a meeting here on Monday morning that I cannot miss.”

He states he has no plans for another C-level job. Instead, he’s putting family and his health first, citing the fainting of BMW CEO Harald Krüger at a press conference as motivation. Krüger passed out during the Frankfurt motor show. Dekkers said this clearly shows how important it is for business leaders to protect their health.

“I’m very aware of the strain and stresses on my body, both physically and mentally, and put a lot of measures in place to manage that. I know from my tennis days what it is to manage your energy. On the day of a match you need to peak at, say, 2pm not 5pm.”

Dekkers is looking forward to a lot of family time, as well as tennis, his first love.

As I said upfront, I normally applaud when people realize that working themselves to death is a bad idea. I also said Dekker won’t be getting my applause. I find it morally reprehensible for him to issue a statement about leaving Bayer to protect his health and spend time with his family when tens of thousands of women are suffering due to Essure.

Bayer’s “permanent” birth control implant, Essure, is made of titanium (as are many other implantable medical devices) and nickel, one of the most allergic reaction-inducing metals known to humans. It also contains PET (polyethylene terephthalate), a plastic resin that, according to the material safety data sheet (MSDS) of one manufacturer, should not be used for “medical applications involving permanent implantation in the human body.”

Some women in their early 20s and 30s are being forced to undergo hysterectomies in order to have Essure successfully removed. The product is known to fragment and migrate, causing perforated organs and a host of other damages.

Furthermore, the two materials (nickel and PET fibers) that shouldn’t be inside the human body are also destroying women’s lives. And the lives of their families. Just yesterday, I received a comment from a reader expressing her pain and anger at having lost 12 years of her life to this product. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she added that, because she was always sick, she missed out on participating in her children’s lives as they grew up.

Yet, Bayer and the FDA continue to stand by Essure’s safety. So, you’ll forgive me if I can’t muster even lukewarm applause for Mr. Dekker retiring to take care of his health and spend time with his family. He’s doing what over 23,000 women would love to do and all the while he’s doing it, he’s ignoring their plight.

No, Mr. Dekker, you get nothing but contempt from me. Your company’s dangerous product has damaged and even ended women’s lives. Another commenter told me that his wife committed suicide a year after she was implanted with Essure. She left no note, but her browser history was full of searches on the adverse effects of your “safe” product.


Powerhouse activist, Erin Brockovich, summed it up perfectly when she said recently, “If 20,000 men’s penises were falling off, the world would stop.” You’re damned right it would! But 23,000 women suffering? I guess that just doesn’t count, at least not according to Mr. Dekker.

I want you to ponder something, Mr. Dekker: after all of the stories you’ve heard and are so conveniently ignoring to protect your bottom line, would you let one of your daughters get Essure implanted in their bodies? I’m betting you wouldn’t. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. I invite you to comment, Mr. Dekker and not through one of your corporate communications officers. I want to hear from you as to why you think your health and family time is so much more important than that of the women your company is victimizing.

If you or someone you know has problems with Essure, there is also a Facebook group, Essure Problems, which offers moral support and good information for Essure victims.

Activist Erin Brockovich has created a website, Essure Procedure, in an effort to create change regarding this horrible device.


Marijn Dekkers, Bayer CEO: From GE to Germany

Erin Brockovich joins campaign to pull Essure contraceptive from market

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