Yaz Pulmonary Embolism, DVT Lawsuits Settled, With Average of $218K

Bayer reported last week that it has settled Yaz birth control lawsuits brought by 651 plaintiffs in the United States, agreeing to pay about $142 million, which comes to an average of around $218,000 per claim. However, the drug maker indicates that at this time it is only settling lawsuits for venous clot injuries, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism.

The information was disclosed in the “Legal Risks” section of Bayer’s First Quarter 2012 Stockholder’s newsletter, confirming recent media reports that indicated the drug maker had started to resolve some cases.

Despite the reported agreements to settle some blood clot injuries, the drug maker continues to face product liability lawsuits brought by an estimated 14,000 people throughout the United States involving their Yaz, Yasmin, Ocella and Gianvi birth control pills.

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The complaints involve a variety of alleged injuries, including strokes, heart attacks, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, gallbladder disease and other complications allegedly caused by side effects of the drospirenon-based birth control pills.

Bayer indicated that it is only settling lawsuits involving pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis injuries, and only after a case-specific analysis of medical records on a rolling basis.

The exact number of Yaz pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis lawsuits that must be resolved remains unclear to the drug maker at this time, but Bayer indicates that less than half of complaints served allege such an injury.

According to estimates provided in court records in October 2010, approximately 40% to 41% of cases involved a DVT or pulmonary embolism. Approximately 10% of the cases filed at that time involved women who alleged that they suffered a heart attack or stroke from Yaz, and about 43% involved claims for gallbladder injuries.

A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) involves a blood clot that occurs in the deep veins of the legs or pelvis. A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot breaks off, travels through the blood stream and becomes lodged near the lung.

The first trial over Yaz was scheduled to start on January 9, 2012.  However, less than two weeks before it was set to begin, the trial date was postponed and the partiers were ordered the parties to engage in negotiations to settle Yaz lawsuits.

Bayer reported to stockholders that they have taken appropriate accounting measures for anticipated defense costs and for agreed or anticipated future settlements based on the information currently available.

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