The majority of Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits pending in a federal multidistrict litigation could be resolved within the next year. According to U.S. District Judge David Herndon, who is overseeing more than 9,000 Yaz pending in federal court in East St. Louis, the cases have been settling at a consistent rate since he ordered the parties to enter settlement negotiations late last year. So far, some 1,500 Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits alleging the popular contraceptives caused serious, life-threatening blood clots have been settled.
As we’ve reported previously, plaintiffs in Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits allege the drugs caused a variety of dangerous side effects, including:
• Blood clots
• Deep Vein Thrombosis
• Pulmonary Embolism
• Heart Attacks
• Gallbladder problem
Late last year, the first bellwether trials, or test cases, scheduled to start in that litigation were postponed indefinitely. Judge Herndon, at the behest of Bayer, instead ordered the parties to begin settlement negotiations, and appointed a special master, George Washington law professor Stephen Saltzburg, to mediate.
According to a report from the Madison Record, Judge Herndon’s bid to mediate seems to be yielding results.
“So far, so good,” Saltzburg said of the status of the litigation, according to the Record. “I am cautiously optimistic that we will settle all of these cases. There are always some holdouts, but I think we will settle the bulk of these cases in the next year.”
According to Saltzburg, Bayer has agreed to pay out $300 million to resolve the Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits that have settled. The average settlement comes to about $214,000, with plaintiffs who have the most serious claims being awarded the highest amounts. The majority of settled cases involve Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits that allege the drugs caused deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism injuries, according to The Madison Record.
Saltzburg is also serving as a special master in Yasmin-related litigation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He told the Record that “everyone wants their cases settled,” and that the judges overseeing the litigations “are very happy that these cases are settling in the way they are settling.”
Yaz and Yasmin are both made with a synthetic form of progestin called drospirenone. In April, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced that the labels for Yaz, Yasmin and other drospirenone birth control pills would be updated to provide stronger information regarding their blood clot risks. The new label information will state that that some studies reviewed by the FDA reported as high as a three-fold increase in the risk of blood clots, whereas other studies found no additional risk of blood clots with drospirenone-containing products. The modified label will also include a summary of the previously released results of an FDA-funded study of the blood clot risk which found that drospirenone-containing birth control pills were associated with a 1.5-fold increase in the risk of blood clots, compared to those made with other progestins.