Yaz, Yasmin Settlements Continue to Move Forward in MDL

Nearly four years after the first settlements for Yaz and Yasmin cases were reached by Bayer, to begin resolving the litigation for their popular birth control pills, the drug maker continues to work to settle claims brought by women.

Bayer has faced more than 13,000 Yaz lawsuits, Yasmin lawsuits and other cases involving injuries associated with drospirenone-based birth control pills, which all involve allegations that inadequate warnings were provided about the risk of blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, gallbladder problems and other injuries.

At one time, the Yaz and Yasmin litigation was the largest active mass tort in the federal court system, with the cases centralized before U.S. District Judge David R. Herndon in the Southern District of Illinois as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.

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The first trials were set to begin in January 2012, but Judge Herndon ordered Yaz settlement negotiations and postponed the trials before any evidence was presented to a jury, as Bayer began to reach small groups of settlements with individual law firms, resolving cases involving venous thromboembolism injuries, such as a pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis.

As of July 2015, Bayer reported that they had agreed to pay at least $2 billion to settle about 10,000 Yaz and Yasmin cases, resolving nearly all venous clot injuries and gallbladder claims.

For a long period of time, Bayer resisted settling cases involving arterial thrombotic events, such as heart attacks and strokes, as well as patent foramen ovale injuries, leading Judge Herndon to identify a group of 33 of these cases to be prepared for early trial dates earlier this year.

Once again, before the first cases were set to begin, Bayer agreed to pay about $57 million in additional funds to settle about 1,200 remaining cases involving heart attacks, strokes or other arterial thromboembolism injuries in August 2015, resulting in Judge Herndon ordering a census of remaining claims to get an indication of how many cases will remain unresolved after this latest settlement program.

According to minutes (PDF) from a status conference held before Judge Herndon on November 4, at least 89% of eligible claimants who say they suffered an arterial thromboembolism have agreed to participate in the settlement program, and the drug maker continues to reach agreements to settle other cases.

Bayer reports that more than 400 additional blood-clot related cases have been settled recently, with another 400 cases identified that are potential settlement targets. The drug maker told the court that they believe all of those cases can be resolved.

The next status conference in the Yaz and Yasmin birth control litigation is set for February 16, 2016.


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