Bayer Continues to Face Thousands of Yaz and Yasmin Lawsuits

Despite paying out more than $1.8 billion in Yaz and Yasmin settlements, Bayer Healthcare reports that it continues to face about 5,000 product liability lawsuits filed by women who allege they suffered injuries after using the popular birth control pills. 

According to Bayer’s 2014 second-quarter financial report (PDF), the drug maker has reached agreements to resolve more than 17,000 complaints filed by women who alleged inadequate warnings were provided about the potential side effects of Yaz and Yasmin.

The company has agreed to pay about $1.8 billion to resolve claims involving allegations that women suffered blood clot related injuries, such as deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. However, about 5,000 Yasmin lawsuits and Yaz lawsuits remain unresolved. The drug maker also faces a number of Ocella lawsuits and Gianvi lawsuits over generic versions of the medication which were manufactured by Bayer.

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Bayer’s financial statement indicates that about 2,400 of the remaining claims involve injuries that the drug maker is considering settling on a case-by-case basis, after a review of medical records.

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 women may have avoided serious and debilitating injuries if adequate warnings had been provided about the risk of deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, gallbladder disease, heart attacks, and strokes. While all birth control pills carry an increased risk of blood clots, public attention turned to the problem after a number of deaths involving young, healthy women.

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 at it’s peak.

If agreements are not reached to settle all cases, it is possible that lawsuits pending in 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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