Bayer Negotiates $142 Million in Yaz Settlements
Manufacturer Bayer AG continues to negotiate Yaz settlements with plaintiffs who claim injuries from the oral contraceptives Yaz and Yasmin. Women who took the birth control pills complain of serious side effects like Yaz blood clots and related conditions like deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Yaz lawyers allege that the company failed to adequately warn of these risks, and should have performed additional studies on the drugs to ensure public safety.
According to Bayer’s Stockholders’ Newsletter for the first quarter of 2012, Bayer has now paid out $142 million in settlements, resolving 651 cases, for an average of $218,000 a case. Earlier reports in April 2012 stated the company had agreed to pay about $110 million in Yaz lawsuit settlements for the first 500 U.S. cases. That number has now increased and will likely continue to do so, as Yaz lawyers believe the company is seeking ways to avoid a large jury award, preferring the predictability of settlements.
FDA warns of Yaz blood clots
On April 10, 2012, the FDA stated in an announcement that new warnings concerning the risks of Yaz blood clots will now be required on all contraceptives that contain the progestin “drospirenone,” such as Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella. The agency based their decision to require new warnings on a series of studies and reports indicating that birth control pills with drospirenone increase risk of blood clots more than older birth control pills.
This move by the FDA followed the recommendation of an independent advisory panel of experts, which stated in December 2011 that the current warning labels on these products were not sufficient. Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, recommended as far back as 2007 that the FDA ban these contraceptives because of a lack of research establishing their safety.
Studies indicate women taking pills with drospirenone more at risk
In an October 27, 2011 statement, the FDA notified healthcare professionals of the results of a study of 800,000 women: Those women taking pills with drospirenone were at a significantly higher risk of blood clots than women taking other types of birth control pills.
Bayer settling cases concerning blood clots only
Though the first bellwether trials concerning Yaz blood clots were initially scheduled to take place in 2012, MDL Judge Herndon has delayed three times the continuation of those trials, preferring instead to bring in a mediator to help negotiate settlements.
Though Bayer continues to pay Yaz lawsuit settlements in cases concerning blood clots, many of the cases filed concern other injuries, such as Yaz gallbladder disease. So far, Bayer is rejecting women’s claims in these cases, and supporting studies are few concerning the potential link between the birth control pills and gallstones or gallbladder disease.
Yaz lawyers anticipate the company will be ready to go to trial to defend their product against these claims.