Yaz packaging and pills
Bayer settles 500 Yaz lawsuits
  • Fri, 04/27/2012 - 2:44pm

Bayer Pharmaceuticals is settling 500 Yasmin lawsuits at $220,000 per case. Plaintiffs claim the company did not warn women they faced a triple risk of blood clots compared to birth control pills that do not contain synthetic hormone drospirenone. Blood clots can cause heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, and sudden death. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports 50 Yasmin-related deaths between 2004 and 2008.

Yasmin was the fourth most prescribed oral contraceptive in the U.S. in 2011. In that year’s annual report, Germany’s second-largest pharmaceutical company said 11,300 lawsuits were pending here.

“As a German company, Bayer probably would like to avoid the risks and costs of litigation in U.S. courts,” said Carl Tobias, who teaches product-liability law at the University of Richmond, Virginia. “Mediation tends to be a less-expensive way to deal with these kinds of cases.”

Lawsuits stem from the fact Bayer marketed Yaz and Yasmin as safer than competing products despite knowing they posed a higher blood clot risk. Last week, the FDA ordered Bayer and other manufacturers to strengthen warnings on drospirenone-based birth control products. New labels will state that drospirenone-based birth control pills may triple blood clot risks compared to other progestins.

In 2010, Yasmin and Yaz generated $1.58 billion in sales, making them Bayer’s bestselling drugs behind multiple sclerosis medication Betaseron.

Bayer anticipates more lawsuits and a spokesman said the company will consider settling those as well.


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