It was not long ago that Yaz and Yasmin ranked as one of the leading birth control pills on the market. They were able to corner a large share of the market in large part due to a successful ad campaign marketed towards women under 35 and promises to decrease acne and premenstrual depression. However, nowadays when Yaz and Yasmin are in the news it is related to the large number of lawsuits filed against the drugs’ manufacturer.
Bayer Pharmaceuticals Co. began manufacturing Yasmin in 2001 and Yaz in 2006. These new forms of birth control differed from older versions of oral contraceptives in that Yasmin and Yaz contained less estrogen and added a new synthetic form of progestin, called drospirenone. Supposedly, this new combination would lower the risk of blood clots typically caused by high levels of estrogen in birth control pills.
However, recent studies have shown that in fact Yaz and Yasmin users actually have a greater risk of developing blood clots than women using older forms of birth control. In addition, new information has suggested that Yaz and Yasmin also can cause heart failure, strokes, and other organ failures. As a result, over 11,300 product liability lawsuits were filed against Bayer.
The prescription malpractice lawsuits filed against Bayer include allegations that Bayer chose not to warn consumers about the increased risk of heart failure, stroke, and other other failures caused by taking Yaz and Yasmin. This theory of liability is based on the claim that Bayer knew or should have known about these potential health risks. And while Bayer has not pulled either product from the market, it has since amended the drug warnings to show that Yaz and Yasmin can triple one’s risk for blood clots.
However, as early as 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had warned Bayer that its ads for Yaz and Yasmin were deceiving and advised them to modify their content. Then in 2011, a study published in the British Medical Journal found that women using Yasmin or Yaz were at double the risk for developing blood clots as those women taking older birth control pills. As a result, an FDA panel called for further investigation into the risks of blood clots among Yaz and Yasmin users. Yet it wasn’t until April 2012 that Bayer finally modified its warning label to reflect this risk.
In 2010 alone, Bayer generated an estimated $1.58 billion sales from its contraceptives. And while it has not disclosed the terms of all its settlements to date, reports estimate that Bayer has paid out around $142 million for over 650 Yaz and Yasmin product liability lawsuits. And while Bayer recently settled 70 of those lawsuits, there are still many more to come; Bayer’s annual report noted that it expects even more prescription error lawsuits to be filed.
Those Illinois cases that are still pending have been consolidated under the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. In an attempt to save time and money, the federal judge presiding over those cases has order all parties to work to mediate the case by way of a settlement conference rather than going to trial.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois pharmaceutical cases for individuals and families for more than 36 years in and around Chicago, Cook County, and surrounding areas, including Oak Lawn, Tinley Park, Harvey, Calumet City, Lansing, Peoria, Villa Park, and Morton Grove.
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