By: Staff Writers | Published: April 13th, 2012
Bayer has reportedly agreed to pay $110 million to settle about 500 lawsuits over the side effects of its Yaz and Yasmin birth control pills.
Details of the Yaz settlements were leaked to Bloomberg News, which reported that the average came to about $220,000 per plaintiff.
Bayer currently faces more than 10,000 Yaz lawsuits and Yasmin lawsuits being pursued by women throughout the United States who allege that the drug maker failed to adequately warn about the risk of blood clots associated with the birth control pills.
The details come about a month after Bayer reported that it had reached agreements to settle Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits brought by at least 70 women who had filed Yaz and Yasmin claims.
The claims center on the side effects of drospirenone, a newer type of progestin that is used in the oral contraceptives in combination with estrogen. It was first introduced in Yasmin birth control by Berlex Laboratories, which was later acquired by Bayer. Yaz is an updated version of the birth control pill, and Bayer recently introduced a third variation, marketed as Beyaz, which also includes a folate supplement.
Several studies have suggested that women taking Yaz or other drospirenone-based birth control pills face an increased risk of blood clots, stroke, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis and sudden death.
The settlement information comes just days after the FDA announced that it was requiring all drospirenone-based birth control pills to carry additional warnings that they might increase the risk of blood clots when compared to some other birth control pills.
The revised labels will state that some studies report that drospirenone-based birth control pills may triple the risk of blood clots when compared to pills containing other progestins, but notes that some studies found no increased risk. The labels will include data from the FDA’s own study, which determined that drospirenone-based birth control pills were associated with a 1.5-fold increase in blood clot risk.
Earlier this year, the federal judge presiding over all lawsuits filed in U.S. District Courts throughout the United States ordered Bayer and plaintiffs’ lawyers to engage in Yaz settlement negotiations before the first cases are submitted to a jury. Known as bellwethers, those early trial dates are often used to facilitate discussions to settle other lawsuits, and may help the parties gauge how juries are likely to respond to evidence that is likely to be introduced in multiple cases.