Yaz, Yasmin Among Drugs Named in Most Lawsuits in 2011

A report issued earlier this summer revealed that together, the Yaz and Yasmin birth control pills were named in more lawsuits than almost any other medication marketed in the U.S.  That year, Yaz and Yasmin were named in more than 8,300 complaints, according to the QuarterWatch report issued by the Institute of Safe Medicine Practices in May 2012.  Only one other drug, metoclopramide (brand name Reglan), was the subject of more litigation in 2011.

Since 2011, the litigation surrounding Yaz and Yasmin has only grown.  At last count, some 12,000 lawsuits had been filed against the makers of the popular birth control pills.  Most of those are pending in a federal multidistrict litigation underway in U.S. District Court, District of Southern Illinois.  Other Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits are making their way through state courts in California, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Bayer, the maker of Yaz and Yasmin, revealed last month that it had already resolved more than 1,800 lawsuits for $406.2 million.  The company also said it planned to up its reserves for Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits, and will be setting aside an additional $610 million to take care of legal costs not covered by its insurance.  The cases settled so far have all alleged that Yaz and Yasmin caused young women to suffer dangerous venous blood clots.

Bayer had sought the postponement of the first trials in the federal Yaz and Yasmin litigation, and has been in settlement negotiations since late last year. Recently, the Special Master tapped to oversee the Yaz and Yasmin multidistrict litigation expressed optimism that most cases would settle within the year.

Yaz and Yasmin are both made with a synthetic form of progestin called drospirenone, which has been linked to an increased risk of blood clots, including deep vein thrombosis, or DVT.  DVT is a dangerous type of blood clot that forms deep in a vein, most often in the muscles of the leg.  A DVT has the potential to break free and travel to the lungs, becoming a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism.  Some studies have indicated that Yaz, Yasmin and other birth control pills made with the synthetic progestin, drospirenone, can increase the risks that a woman will develop DVT and other serious blood clots by as much as 75%. 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.

In addition to blood clots, Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits claim the drug caused a number of other serious side effects, including:

•    Pulmonary Embolism
•    Strokes
•    Heart Attacks
•    Gallbladder problem

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