Yasmin, Yaz Lawsuit Filings Continue to Mount

The number of lawsuits over Yaz and Yasmin continue to increase nationwide, with thousands of complaints filed on behalf of women who suffered severe or life-threatening health problems from the popular birth control pills. 

According to an annual report (pdf) filed this week by Bayer, the drug maker had been served with about 6,850 complaints as of February 1, 2011. This includes Yaz lawsuits, Yasmin lawsuits, as well as some lawsuits over generic equivalents, known as Gianvi and Ocella.

All of the complaints involve similar allegations that Bayer failed to adequately research their birth control pills or warn that side effects of Yaz and Yasmin increase the risk of blood clots, stroke, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, gallbladder disease or other potentially fatal injuries.

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The increased risk of Yaz and Yasmin health problems appears to be linked to the use of drospirenone, a fourth generation progestin that is only found in these oral birth control pills and their generic equivalents. Drospirenone can increase blood potassium levels, causing a condition known as hyperkalemia, which is known to cause heart problems and other issues.

The federal Yasmin and Yaz litigation has been consolidated and centralized for pretrial proceedings as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. In addition, a number of cases are consolidated at the state court level in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

In October 2010, a Case Management Order was established in the federal MDL, scheduling three bellwether trials, which are typically used to help the parties gauge the strengths or weaknesses of their case and facilitate a potential Yaz settlement.

The first trial in the federal MDL is scheduled to begin in federal court on September 12, 2011, involving a Yaz pulmonary embolism lawsuit. The second trial, which will involve a Yaz gallbladder lawsuit, has been set for trial in federal court on January 9, 2012. The third trial involving a venus thromboembolism, such as a deep vein thrombosis from Yaz, will begin on April 2, 2012.

As Yasmin and Yaz lawyers continue to review and file additional cases, some estimates suggest that the total number of lawsuits filed may eventually exceed 25,000.


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