About 1,100 Birth Control Lawsuits Over Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella Filed

According to an annual report released by Bayer, the number of birth control lawsuits over Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella filed against the pharmaceutical company has risen to about 1,100 cases, and that number will likely continue rising rapidly as thousands of other women are considering claims for serious injuries that may have been caused by side effects of the birth control pills.

Included among the claims are five Yasmin and Yaz class action lawsuits; three filed in the United States and two filed in Canada, according to Bayer’s 2009 annual report released late last month.

All of the lawsuits involve similar allegations that side effects of Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella increase the risk that women may suffer a stroke, heart attack, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, gallbladder disease or other injury. The plaintiffs claim that Bayer failed to adequately research the birth control pills or warn about the increased risks when compared to other available forms of oral birth control.

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Yaz and Yasmin are two similar birth control pills that are both manufactured by Bayer, containing a combination of ethinyl estradiol and drospirenone, a new type of progestin. Ocella, which is a generic version of Yasmin, is distributed by Barr Laboratories, Inc. However, Bayer indicated in the annual report that they are taking over Barr’s defense in certain Ocella lawsuits under the terms of their licensing agreement.

Drospirenone, or drsp, impacts the body’s normal mechanism of regulating a balance between salt and water, which could result in elevated potassium levels. This can cause a condition known as hyperkalemia, which is linked to potentially life-threatening heart problems and other health issues. Yaz litigation claims allege that the oral contraceptives have been responsible for at least 50 deaths in the U.S. alone, with some estimating the number is closer to 60.

Many of the lawsuits also claim that Bayer over-promoted Yaz and Yasmin, alleging that the drug maker advertised additional benefits over other birth control pills without fully disclosing the potential increased risk of problems from Yasmin and Yaz. The FDA has previously penalized Bayer for deceptive advertising in connection with the birth control pills. Last year, the pharmaceutical company was required to spend $20 million to run a corrective advertising campaign after promoting unapproved and unsubstantiated health benefits of Yaz while downplaying side effects.

According to Bayer’s annual report, the drug maker expects that the number of lawsuits will continue to climb. Yaz and Yasmin lawyers are continuing to review potential cases for women who have suffered injuries, and some estimates suggest as many as 25,000 women could file a suit over the birth control pills.

Despite the lawsuits and purported health risks, Bayer raked in $1.7 billion from Yaz, Yasmin, and a low-strength version of Yasmin called Yasminelle in 2009. Sales overall for the company’s birth control pills was up 4.6 percent over 2008 numbers.

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1 Comments

  • JacobMarch 4, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Bayer again? These clowns were part of the Nazi comglomerate, IG Farben, that played a key role in bankrolling sHitler's rise to power. More telling is that Fritz ter Meer, whom I believe was the only nazi war criminal charged with both plunder and slavery, went on to be elected to the supervisory board of Bayer (and later chairman of the board) after serving seven years in prison courtesy of the [Show More]Bayer again? These clowns were part of the Nazi comglomerate, IG Farben, that played a key role in bankrolling sHitler's rise to power. More telling is that Fritz ter Meer, whom I believe was the only nazi war criminal charged with both plunder and slavery, went on to be elected to the supervisory board of Bayer (and later chairman of the board) after serving seven years in prison courtesy of the Nuremberg trials. Ter Meer, it should be pointed out, was involved in the planning of Monowitz concentration camp, which was a satellite camp of Auschwitz. This is not, however, a "conflict of interest." It's the same interest. The pharmaceutical industry is not your friend, and this little bit of history about Bayer is only tip of the iceberg.

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