The largest health insurer in Switzerland—CSS—just announced it is supporting a woman’s claim against Bayer and the drug maker’s controversial contraceptive pill, Yasmin.
Bayer has been making headlines over the side effects associated with Yasmin and other newer-generation contraceptives, noted Reuters. In fact, in France some types of prescription costs will not longer be made following a lawsuit against Bayer there.
CSS said it supported its client and her claim against Bayer and will be acting as a joint plaintiff in the lawsuit against Bayer; CSS is demanding that Bayer cover medical costs, said Reuters. A spokesman for the drug maker said Bayer could not comment on pending lawsuits but did note that the Yasmin line of oral birth control pills “had a positive risk-benefit profile based on extensive scientific data” and that what contraceptive a woman should use is between the woman and her physician, said Reuters.
As we’ve written, lawsuits allege that Bayer, the maker of Yaz, failed to warn of the serious risks associated with Yaz and Yasmin, including: Blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, heart attack, strokes, and gallbladder disease.
In Switzerland, media there reported that the woman in this case suffered from a serious pulmonary embolism that left her significantly disabled just a few weeks after being prescribed Yasmin, said Reuters. Her medical treatment, to date, has cost some 600,000 Swiss francs ($648,600), according to reports.
Bayer has agreed to pay a total of $750 million to settle 3,490 legal claims in the United States over Yasmin and allegations of blood clots; similar injuries are alleged in another 3,800 cases that are pending in the U.S., said Reuters.
We recently wrote that young women taking the Yasmin line of birth control pills, which includes Yaz, should be aware that these popular contraceptives may increase their risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. Last summer, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that combined hormonal birth control methods, such as Yaz and Yasmin, were associated with a higher risk of heart attack and stroke, compared to other types of hormonal contraceptives.
Both Yaz and Yasmin contain a combination of drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol. Drospirenone is a type of synthetic progestin that had not been used in oral contraceptives prior to the approval of Yasmin. Drospirenone can cause a spike in the blood’s potassium levels. This increase can lead to hyperkalemia, which can result in cardiac arrest.
Drospirenone contraceptives have also been linked to a higher risk of blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. 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 after some studies indicated that these contraceptives were associated with as high as a three-fold increase in the risk of serious blood clots, including pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis.