A new lawsuit has been filed in St. Clair County, Ill. over the birth control pill Yaz, by a woman who says the drug caused her to suffer a blood clot in her lung, also known as a pulmonary embolism.
The Yaz blood clot lawsuit was filed by Kerry Sims on August 18, according to a report in the St. Clair Record. It is one of many similar lawsuits over Yaz and Yasmin, which are nearly identical oral contraceptives.
Yaz lawsuits and Yasmin lawsuits filed in various state and federal courts throughout the United States contain similar allegations that the birth control pills increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, gallbladder disease and sudden death.
Sims complaint was filed against Bayer, the maker of Yaz and Yasmin, as well as Walgreens pharmacy, where she purchased the medication. She alleges that Bayer misrepresented the benefits and safety of the birth control pill, claiming that she would not have used the drug had she been fully informed of the health risks.
Yaz and Yasmin both contain a combination of ethinyl estradiol, which is used in many oral contraceptives, and drospirenone, a new type of progestin that is unique to these drugs and a generic Yasmin version sold as Ocella.
Sims began taking the pill when it was known as Yasmin. Bayer reformulated the pill and renamed it Yaz after acquiring Yasmin’s original manufacturer, Berlex, in 2006. As a side effect of Yaz, Sims alleges that she suffered a blood clot in her lung and an infection of the area surrounding the blood clot.
According to a study published this month in the British Medical Journal, the risk of Yaz blood clots is greater than with some other types of available birth control pills and 6.3 times greater than taking no form of oral contraceptive. Despite the fact that there are safer oral contraceptives, aggressive marketing by Bayer has made Yaz and Yasmin the most popular birth control pills in the United States, accounting for 17.7% and 11% of the birth control market last year, respectively.
Over 50 reports of Yasmin or Yaz deaths were reported to the FDA between the first quarter of 2004 and the third quarter of 2008, according to some of the complaints. The deaths involved women as young as 17 and included cardiac arrests, pulmonary embolisms and strokes, with elevated levels of potassium in the blood frequently reported.
Next month, a panel of federal judges is scheduled to hear arguments about whether to consolidate and centralize all Yasmin and Yaz litigation pending in various federal courts throughout the United States. In addition to the Sims Yas lawsuit and other state court cases, there are at least 32 lawsuits involving the birth control pills pending in federal district courts.
If the cases are consolidated into an MDL, or Multidistrict Litigation, all federal cases will be transferred to one judge for coordinated handling during pretrial litigation. Plaintiffs who have filed Pennsylvania Yaz lawsuits in state court are also seeking to have those cases consolidated before one judge for similar mass tort treatment.