Yaz Lawsuit – Blood Clots, DVT and Pulmonary Embolism Lawsuits
More than 10,000 women who took popular birth control pills Yaz, Yasmin, or Ocella have filed lawsuits against the manufacturer, Bayer Pharmaceuticals. Yaz lawsuits allege that the oral contraceptive causes dangerous side effects, including potentially life-threatening blood clots. Bayer is accused of launching a marketing campaign that misled consumers regarding the possible benefits of the drug, while failing to adequately warn patients about the risks of medical complications.
Yaz side effects apply to other fourth generation birth control pills such as Yasmin and Ocella which contain the hormones ethinyl estradiol and drospirenone. As more complaints are received regarding the oral contraception and as more lawsuits make their way through court, consumers are begnning to take a closer look at the pills as compared with other, more time tested options.
About 10,000 Yaz lawsuits have already been consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Southern District of Illinois for oversight and management before the Honorable Judge David R. Herndon.
The popular fourth generation pills are available under the brand names:
Potential Yaz side effects
Yaz lawsuits against Bayer list a range of alleged side effects. Among the most significant is the risk of developing blood clots, which often form in the legs. If the clots break free, they can travel up to the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism, a potentially fatal condition without prompt medical attention. Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism can include chest pain, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, bloody cough, and fever. Surgery may be required to keep the patient alive.
Potential Yaz side effects include:
- Blood clots
- Pulmonary embolism
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
- Liver cancer/liver bleeding
- Breast cancer
- Cerebral hemorrhage
- Gallbladder problems
- Heart attack
- Hair loss
FDA warnings and Yaz side effects
In response to the spate of complaints filed against Bayer and reports of adverse events, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took a closer look at the drug. In 2009, the federal agency sent a warning letter to Bayer regarding the medication’s televised ad campaign. Specifically, the FDA took issue with the company overstating the benefits of the drug while at the same time, understating the risks.
Though drug companies are regularly required to alter language in informational pamphlets every year, the agency required Bayer to air new TV ads to clarify the risk of of Yaz side effects. Bayer reportedly spent $20 million to clear up any confusion caused by the original campaign.
On April 10, 2012, the FDA released a safety review update that notified consumers of the new warning labels that would be associated with Yaz. Citing medical studies that indicated a three times as likely chance of users developing blood clots as compared with other birth control pills, the FDA now requires that Yaz packaging have a black box warning, the highest warning level that may be imposed.
Yaz development, uses, and marketing
Yaz was approved by the FDA on March 16, 2006 for the prevention of pregnancy. It is primarily prescribed to prevent pregnancy, but doctors are known to recommend it for other uses. Women are known to take the pill for other reasons including to clear up acne, regulate menstrual cycles, and improve symptoms of PMDD (pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder), such as depression, fatigue, joint pain, and weight gain.
On October 4, 2006, Yaz was approved to treat PMDD, and on January 30, 2007, the FDA approved a new indication for the drug: the treatment of acne. The oral contraceptive became the first such drug approved for three separate indications.
Bayer Pharmaceuticals subsequently launched a marketing campaign aimed at young women who wanted to treat symptoms of PMDD and acne, as well as take a reliable birth control pill. The drug quickly racked up $800 million in sales for Bayer in 2009 alone. But perhaps due to media reports of dangerous side effects like blood clots and stroke, consumer interest waned in subsequent years. In 2010, sales of Yaz/Yasmin dropped by 15%.
Yaz lawsuits currently pending
More complaints are added to the Yaz MDL every day. Plaintifs include:
- A 22-year-old Florida resident who began taking the contraceptive in 2005, and suffered from a bilateral pulmonary embolism in 2009. According to the complaint, the plaintiff is at a continued risk for sudden death, heart arrhythmia, and stroke.
- Carissa Ubersox, a nurse, also used the contraceptive after watching a TV ad that informed her it could clear up her acne and bloating. Three months later, she developed blood clots in her legs, which caused a bilateral pulmonary embolism. The plaintiff was in a coma for two weeks, and when she woke up, she was blind. Ubersox is also pursuing compensatory damages from Bayer via a Yaz lawsuit.
- Broadway actress Brenda Hamilton was just 27 years old when she had stroke after taking Yasmin for two years. A young woman with a previously clean bill of health and an active lifestyle, she did not fit the profile for a person who was “at risk” for a stroke. She filed her lawsuit in the Bronx.
- Michelle Pfleger was just 18 years old when she suddenly collapsed on her college campus and later died. After learning that her daughter had died of pulmonary embolism, she filed a Yaz lawsuit.
- Mississippi resident Courtney Morris filed suit on February 26, 2013. Within months of beginning “Gianvi, ” a generic form of Yaz, she developed a deep vein thrombosis in her leg which ultimately led to her suffering a stroke. Ms. Morris now suffers from impaired vision as well as voluntary muscle control on the right side of her body.
Dockets all across the country are literally filed with stories just like these- all young, healthy women in the prime of their lives.
Yaz lawsuit settlements
To date, Bayer has settled about 3,500 lawsuits nationwide involving Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella side effects, to the tune of about $750 million. Settlements however only involve cases in which the plaintiff developed deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or a pulmonary embolism. Ultimately, Bayer could pay over a billion dollars to the victims of Yaz side effects.
If you have been injured because of taking Yaz, Yasmin, or Ocella, you may be entitled to damages for your pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages and more. Attorneys with experience litigating dangerous drug cases are currently offering free lawsuit evaluations to victims of the Yaz birth control pill.
- National Public Radio, (August 23, 2010) With Birth Control Pills, New Isn't Always Better, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129258505
- Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, (October 5, 2006) FDA Approves New Indication For Yaz, http://www.pharma.bayer.com
- New York Times, (February 10, 2009), A Birth Control Pill That Promised Too Much, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/11/business/11pill.html
- ABC News, (October 4, 2011) New Studies Find Yaz More Risky Than Other Leading Birth Control Pills, http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/studies-find-yaz-risky-leading-birth-control-pills/story?id=14741760
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA), (April 10, 2012), FDA Drug Safety Communication, http://www.fda.gov/Drugs