Bayer Has Agreed to Settle Yaz Lawsuits Brought by 70 People: Report

Bayer Healthcare reports that it has reached agreements to settle Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits brought by at least 70 women, but continues to face about 11,300 additional claims by women who have suffered serious, and sometimes fatal injuries, allegedly caused by their popular birth control pills.

In the legal risks section of their 2011 Annual Financial Report, Bayer outlines the status of the Yaz litigation for investors and indicates for the first time that some settlements have been reached.

Although details about the Yaz settlements has not been disclosed, Bayer did indicate that they are continuing to consider settling lawsuits on a case-by-case basis.

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Thousands of women throughout the United States are pursuing financial compensation from Bayer through a Yaz lawsuit or Yasmin lawsuit, alleging that the drug maker failed to adequately warn about the increased risk of blood clots and other serious injuries.

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.

Last year, the FDA released a report that suggested drospirenone birth control pills may increase the risk of blood clots by 75% over older pills. They also doubled the risk of heart attacks and strokes in users who were now to birth control, with some health problems appearing in less than three months after women started using the pills.

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.

Generic versions of Yaz and Yasmin are also now available from other manufacturers, including Ocella, Gianvi, Loryna, Safyral, Syeda and Zarah.

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