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Health Risks from Yaz, Yasmin Birth Control May Limit Use in France

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Yaz, Yasmin and other newer forms of birth control pills should be prescribed as a “last resort,” according to a French drug safety agency, which is calling for limitations on use of the contraceptives due to the potential increased risk of blood clots. 

The National Drugs Safety Agency (ANSM) in France is telling doctors they should only prescribe so-called third and fourth-generation birth control pills, those released since the 1990s, if their patients cannot take older generation pills.

Last week, the ANSM launched an inquiry into how the drugs are being prescribed, and the country of France will no longer reimburse prescription costs of third-generation pills, like Bayer’s Meliane, after March 31.

ANSM indicates that the safety of the new pills, particularly the risk of blood clots and associated ailments, has raised serious concerns in the medical community in France.

An estimated two million women in France use newer generation pills, including Yaz and Yasmin, and ANSM officials have suggested that they may recall some of the newer brands if doctors do not stop prescribing them in large numbers.

Concerns center around recent findings that newer birth control pills have double the risk of blood clots when compared to older birth control pills, which can cause health problems like deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and stroke.

The findings come as Bayer continues to try to settle and resolve thousands of Yaz lawsuits and Yasmin lawsuits filed in the United States by women who say the company failed to warn them of the side effects of Yaz and Yasmin.

Bayer faces more than 12,000 claims in the U.S. and has reached Yaz settlement agreements in about 3,500 at a cost of about $750 million.

In the U.S. federal court system, the Yaz and Yasmin litigation has been consolidated as part of an MDL before U.S. District Judge David R. Herndon in the Southern District of Illinois.  Earlier this year, the Yaz and Yasmin MDL became the largest pending consolidated litigation in the United States, with the total number of cases surpassing the asbestos litigation, which was consolidated in 1991.

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