Yasmin Stroke Lawsuit Results in $14M Verdict Against Doctor

An Illinois jury has awarded $14 million in damages to a woman who claimed she suffered a stroke from side effects of Yasmin birth control, finding that her doctor should not have prescribed the medication given her underlying risk factors for blood clots.

The medical malpractice lawsuit was brought by Mariola Zapalski, 37, against Dr. Zbigniew Aniol in Chicago, Illinois.

Zapalski was prescribed Yasmin birth control in 2007, and suffered a stroke just 13 days after starting to use the medication, which has left her paralyzed on the left side, suffering from speech problems and other permanent injuries.

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According to allegations raised at trial, Aniol knew or should have known that Zapalski had an increased risk of suffering a stroke on Yasmin due to preexisting risk factors for birth control pill blood clots.

Following trial before a Cook County jury, Zapalski was awarded $14 million against Aniol on Saturday. A $2.5 million settlement had previously been reached with Resurrection Medical Center.

Yasmin (drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol) is an oral birth control pill sold by Bayer, which contains a fourth generation progestin known as drospirenone. Together with a newer version of the medication sold under the brand name Yaz, it is one of the most popular oral birth control products and a top selling drug for the global pharmaceutical company.

The verdict in Zapalski’s case comes as Bayer faces thousands of Yasmin lawsuits and Yaz lawsuits, alleging that the drug maker provided inadequate warnings about the increased risk of blood clots associated with drospirenone-based birth control. The litigation includes claims brought by women throughout the United States who indicate the birth control pills caused them to suffer heart attacks, strokes, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or other injuries.

While Bayer has already agreed to pay more than $1.7 billion in Yaz and Yasmin settlements in cases filed by women who suffered a venous clot injury, such as a DVT or PE, the drug maker has continued to defend many of the cases alleging the birth control pills caused women to suffer a stroke injury.

In the federal court system, the Yaz and Yasmin litigation has been consolidated as part of an MDL in the Southern District of Illinois, which grew at one point to become the largest consolidated litigation in the United States, with the total number of active cases surpassing the asbestos litigation last year.

If agreements are not reached to settle remaining Yasmin cases, it is possible that hundreds of individual lawsuits pending throughout the federal court system will be remanded back to the U.S. District Courts where they were originally filed for individual trial dates. However, the litigation has been essentially stayed since January 2012, when the first trial dates in the federal MDL were cancelled amid the start of settlement negotiations.

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