Overview: Yaz litigation appears to be moving forward as Bayer agrees to pay at least $110 million to settle around 500 lawsuits alleging that the contraceptives caused blood clots. The announcement comes only days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered stronger warning labels on the birth-control pills.
- Bayer is said to pay at least $110 million to settle suits over its Yasmin birth control, which allegedly cause sometimes-fatal blood clots
- The FDA just updated the warning labels of Yaz, Yasmin and other birth controls containing drospirenone to include the risk of blood clots
- Bayer last settled 70 Yaz suits in mid-February
- There are over 11,000 suits against Bayer’s Yaz/Yasmin
Product: Yaz, Yasmin (Drospirenone and Ethinyl Estradiol)
Manufacturer: Bayer AG
Injuries & Side Effects
- Blood Clots
- Pulmonary Embolism (PE)
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
- Gallbladder Damage
- Heart Attacks
Bayer paying $220,000 per case
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Bayer is paying about $220,000 per case. Some experts note that it is more cost effective for a company like Bayer to settle, rather than pursue further litigation. Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond teaching product-liability law discusses the financial basis for the settlement, “Sounds to me like mediation is paying off…As a German company, Bayer probably would like to avoid the risks and costs of litigation in U.S. courts. Mediation tends to be a less- expensive way to deal with these kinds of cases.” Tobias said to Businessweek.
On April 10th, the FDA ordered Yaz, Yasmin and other birth controls with drospirenone to have stronger warning labels with regards to blood clots. The updated safety information will include research results, some indicating a three-fold risk in drospirenone users.
This is the second time Bayer has settled Yaz cases this year. Around mid-February, Bayer chose to settle 70 Yaz cases alleging that Yaz, Yasmin and its generics caused injury or fatalities.
Yaz and Yasmin are oral contraceptives containing drospirenone, a synthetic hormone meant to mimic progesterone found naturally in women. Past research has linked drospirenone to an increased risk of blood clots leading to potentially fatal injuries such as stroke, heart attack and pulmonary embolism. Last year, the FDA found that women taking drospirenone-based birth control may be 75 percent more likely to develop blood clots compared to women taking other forms of contraceptives.
By 2009, the lawsuits against Bayer’s best-selling drugs began to accumulate. In October 2009, all Yaz, Yasmin cases were consolidated in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) before Judge David Herndon in the Southern District of Illinois. This past February, Bayer was faced with over 11,000 cases alleging that Yaz/Yasmin caused blood clots leading to injury or death.
The first trial was originally scheduled for January 9th, but Judge Herndon postponed the date in attempt to foster mediation, appointing George Washington University law professor Stephen Saltzburg to help resolve the cases. Considering the recent settlements, his efforts appear to be paying off.