Bayer Continues to Face About 3,900 Unsettled Yaz, Yasmin Lawsuits

After paying at least $1.74 billion in Yaz and Yasmin settlements to resolve more than 17,500 cases, Bayer continues to face nearly 4,000 product liability lawsuits brought by women who allege they suffered severe and potentially life-threatening injuries after using the popular birth control pills.

In a quarterly financial statement released this week, Bayer indicates that it has agreed to settle complaints brought by more than 8,500 women who allege they suffered a venous clot injury, such as a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism. The drug maker has previously reported that another 8,800 lawsuits have been settled involving women who claimed a gallbladder injury.

Even after the settlements, Bayer indicates that about 3,900 Yaz lawsuits, Yasmin lawsuits, Ocella lawsuits and Gianvi lawsuits are still pending in the United States.

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Bayer has indicated that it is only willing to settle venous clot injuries at this time, on a case-by-case basis after an analysis of medical records in each case. Negotiations are continuing with lawyers nationwide, and the drug maker estimates that about 1,920 of the remaining lawsuits allege injuries that it is considering settling.

Prior estimates suggest that the total cost of resolving all venous clot injuries from the Yaz birth control pills will exceed $2 billion. However, that will still leave nearly 2,000 unsettled cases.

Yaz and Yasmin Litigation

Yaz and Yasmin are popular birth control pills that contain the fourth-generation progestin drospirenone, which has been associated with an increased risk of blood clots compared to the risk associated with some older birth control pills. Gianvi and Ocella are generic versions of the drugs, which were manufactured by Bayer and distributed by other drug makers.

All of the complaints involve similar allegations that Bayer failed to provide adequate warnings for women about the increased risk of injury associated with side effects of Yasmin and Yaz.

Women allege that they may have avoided serious and debilitating injuries if adequate warnings had been provided about the risk of blood clots. In addition to claims for women who suffered a deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, other lawsuits have been filed on behalf of women who experienced a heart attack, stroke, wrongful death and other injuries.

In the federal court system, the Yaz and Yasmin litigation has been consolidated as part of an MDL in the Southern District of Illinois. At the height of the cases, the Yaz and Yasmin MDL was the largest consolidated litigation in the United States, with the total number of active cases surpassing the asbestos litigation.

If Bayer refuses to negotiation agreements to settle remaining cases, a series of “bellwether” trials will likely be scheduled, or hundreds of individual cases may be remanded back to U.S. District Courts throughout the country for individual trial dates. There were originally a series of bellwether trials scheduled in the MDL involving different injury groups, but those cases were cancelled in early 2012, as Bayer began settling cases.

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