It is Not Too Late to File Suit Against Makers of Yaz and Yasmin

Many more women who have experienced dangerous side effects associated with the use of Yaz and Yasmin birth control pills, continue to file lawsuits against Bayer Pharmaceuticals, the Germany-based manufacturer of the drugs.

The lawsuits stem from the serious number of women who suffered heart, stroke and blood disorders following the use of Yaz or Yasmin contraceptives.

Although Bayer has so far paid a reported $402 million to settle Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits, as well as setting aside another $600 million for future settlements, this has not put an end to the litigation, with women still coming forward, alleging that they were not adequately warned about the risks associated with these contraceptives.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioned a study suggesting that Yaz and Yasmin were linked to an increased risk of blood clots due to the use of drospirenone.  A study published in the BMJ (British Medical Journal 11/11) found that women who used birth control that included drospirenone – a synthetic version of progesterone (which is sometimes refered to as progestin), had double the risk of blood clots as women using older oral contraceptives.

Lawsuits filed against Bayer allege the company did not properly test the contraceptives before selling them and then failed to warn the public or medical professionals about the risks associated with using Yaz or Yasmin.

Yaz gained popularity in the U.S. after it was released in 2006. In addition to preventing pregnancy, it is alleged that Bayer produced television commercials marketing Yaz and Yasmin as being safer than other forms of birth control available when, in fact, they were not safer.

Bayer marketed Yaz and Yasmin with exaggerated benefits, such as acne reduction and treatment of PMS, while downplaying the serious dangers associated with the drug. For these reasons, similar drugs, such as Yasmin and Ocella quickly became popular, as well. (Ocella is the generic version marketed by Teva Pharmaceuticals). Despite the differences of the drugs and dosages, the drug makers are facing lawsuits due to the severe side effects patients say Yaz and Yasmin cause.  The severe reactions to Yaz and Yasmin are linked to drospirenone, a new generation of synthetic progesterone. Drospirenone can cause elevated levels of potassium in the body, which may cause serious heart condition and other health concerns.

Thousands of injuries and about 100 deaths are linked to Yaz’ severe side effects.

The claims also accuse Bayer of not doing enough research on the medications and of failing to issue a recall after reports indicated a risk of life-threatening side effects with Yaz and Yasmin.  Bayer is also charged with failing to report the risks associated with the contraceptive.

Claims include negligence, strict product liability, breach of express and implied warranties, fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, medical monitoring and fraud and deceit.

The number of lawsuits grew to the point that a judicial panel decided to transfer lawsuits filed in federal court to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.  Because the cases have similar claims against common defendants, one judge will manage the cases for greater efficiency. This is known as a multidistrict litigation (MDL).  Approximately 11,000 lawsuits have been consolidated in the Southern District of Illinois. Some of those lawsuits allege that the women suffered blood clots, while others allege they suffered gallbladder problems.

Bellwether trials for Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella were scheduled to go to court earlier in 2012 but the sides sought mediation, resulting in settlements in at least some of the lawsuits. Although settlements have been reached in some blood clot lawsuits, there have not been settlements of gall bladder claims.

In April 2012, the FDA ordered Bayer to increase the warnings on Yaz and Yasmin labels to more adequately report the risk of blood clots. That announcement was made following an FDA review of studies comparing the risk of blood clots between birth control containing drospirenone and those that did not.  Some studies found up to three times the risk of blood clots in women who used drospirenone-containing birth control.

The FDA’s most serious label, the black-box warning, appears on all Yaz and Yasmin packaging. It cautions women who smoke that there is an increased risk of serious cardiovascular side effects that may occur if the use either drug.

In October 2012, Reuters reported that Bayer had settled 3,490 Yaz cases for $750 million.  So many more cases have yet to be settled.

Even though some settlements have been announced, it is not too late for women who suffered health problems after using Yaz, Yasmin or Ocella to file a lawsuit, providing the statute of limitations has not run out.

If you or a loved one suffered serious side effects after taking Yaz, Yasmin or Ocella birth control pills, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).

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