Yaz, also known as Yasmin, is the common name for the birth control drug called drospirenone. Since the drug was first released in 2001 by Bayer, it has been the source of a large amount of legal and medical controversy.
As of March 2012, approximately 12,000 lawsuits have been filed against Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the manufacturer of Yaz, Yasmin and other versions of the drospirenone. These lawsuits allege that Bayer failed to provide adequate warning of the health risks related to the drug, including blood clots, gall bladder disease, and deep vein thrombosis or DVT. And the new “fourth generation” of the drug, called progestin drospirenone has also been linked to Stroke, Heart Attacks, and Myocardial Infraction, as well as the previously mentioned symptoms.
When Bayer first released Yaz/Yasmin in 2001, it was heralded as a “miracle drug” and rapidly became the top selling birth control pill in the US. Yaz was marketed not only as a birth control drug, but also to help treat women with severe PMS and acne.
However, independent studies began to assert that women taking Yaz were at a higher risk for blood clots that with other similar birth control pills. This led to new scrutiny from safety regulators, despite Bayer denying any wrongdoing. However, Bayer has been reprimanded on several occasions for running potentially misleading ad campaigns.
A study published by the British Medical Journal in October of 2011 found that women taking Yaz had twice the risk of blood clots as women taking an older birth control pill. However, in 2007, two studies published as post of the post marketing requirements by the FDA and European regulators did not find any increase in risk for blood clots. But, the preliminary results of a study funded by the FDA seem to indicate that there is a 50% increase in the risk of blood clots for women taking Yaz.
The FDA has stated that it has yet to reach a final conclusion and has instead launched an advisory meeting to discuss the risks and benefits of Yaz. The advisory committee voted 15-11 to keep the drug Yaz on the market. But, in March of 2012, both The Washington Monthly and the British Medical Journal published stories that indicated that four of the FDA panel members had a connection to Bayer and may have had a conflict of interests. The Project on Government Oversight and other consumer advocacy groups have begun to ask the FDA to re-evaluate the issues with Yaz and to remove those four members from the advisory committee.
Meanwhile, starting in 2009, lawyers representing women who had taken Yaz began filing Yaz lawsuits. Plaintiffs’ attorneys, siting FDA reports of at least 50 deaths that show ties to the drug, argue that Bayer misled women about the risks of taking the drug, particularly the potential increased risk of blood clots, and that Bayer marketed the drug for unapproved uses, as in the case of the treatment of acne. Claims also include charges of negligence, strict product liability, breach of express and implied warranties, fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, medical monitoring, and fraud and deceit.
All the US cases were consolidated as a multidistrict Yaz litigation before the US District Judge in Illinois. And last year, the District Judge called in a mediator to explore the possibility of a settlement. It is currently believed that a final settlement will be reached sometime this year. As of October 212, it has been reported that Bayer has settled 3.490 cases for $750 million.
Now more than ever, if you have suffered harmful side effects due to using Yaz, including Yasmin and other related drugs, you should contact a law firm with Yaz experience. Filing your Yaz claim and providing documentation can take a few weeks. Consider contacting an attorney for a free case evaluation to learn how you may be entitled to compensation.