More Yaz, Yasmin Lawsuits Consolidated

New Jersey has become the latest venue where Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits have been consolidated as a mass tort. The consolidation was ordered on February 18 by New Jersey’s Administrative Office of the Courts. The Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits have been assigned to Judge Brian R. Martinotti in Bergen County Superior Court.

Yaz and Yasmin are both made with a type of progestin called drospirenone, making them different from many other oral contraceptives. Drospirenone can elevate the body’s potassium levels, which can lead to a condition called hyperkalemia in certain patients. Hyperkalemia may result in potentially serious heart and health problems. Adverse Events reported to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) involving Yaz and Yasmin include heart arrhythmias, electrolyte imbalance, hyponatremis, hyperkalemia, hyperkalemic arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation, tachycardia, bradycardia, myocardial infarction, stroke, transient ischemic attack, blood clots, embolisms, and sudden death.

Yaz and other drospirenone-containing contraceptives have been named in hundreds of lawsuit filed by women around the country who claim the medications caused them to suffer blood clots, heart attacks, stroke, gallbladder disease and other Yaz side effects. Plaintiffs allege that Yaz and Yasmin were not subjected to adequate testing, and that Bayer failed to provide adequate warnings about their potential side effects.

Some legal experts say as many as 1,000 legal cases involving Yaz and Yasmin could be filed in New Jersey alone. The lawsuits there were consolidated to avoid duplication and to prevent conflicting rulings in different cases throughout the state. Each Yasmin and Yaz lawsuit remains an individual action, and could be returned to the original court where they were filed for resolution or trial in the future.

On October 1, 2009, all lawsuits involving Yaz and Yasmin currently pending in federal courts were consolidated for centralized and coordinated pre-trial proceedings in the Yasmin and Yaz (Drospirenone) Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois before Judge David R. Herndon (MDL No. 2100). In December, Judge Herndon discussed scheduling a series of “bellwether” trials for the lawsuits, which will serve as a guideline for other cases.

Some legal experts believe that as many as 25,000 lawsuits involving Yaz and similar medications could ultimately be filed in the multidistrict litigation. It could take more than two years to resolve all of the Yaz lawsuits on Judge Herndon’s docket.

Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits pending in Pennsylvania state courts were also consolidated last September.

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