Yaz Settlements to Resolve More than 17,000 Cases
Bayer has indicated it intends to provide thousands of Yaz settlements to plaintiffs with cases currently pending in the United States. According to the company’s 2013 Annual Report, Bayer plans to spend approximately $1.69 billion to settle lawsuits alleging blood clots and other venous disorders, with more possible settlements in the future. The pharmaceutical giant also plans to spend around $24 million to settle cases involving gallbladder injuries.
The company report states that in February 2014, Bayer had reached agreements with 8,250 plaintiffs to settle claims involving deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and blood clots.
Those settlements would total around $1.69 billion and leave approximately 1,950 cases involving similar allegations unsettled. Bayer has indicated it would continue to evaluate lawsuits on a case-by-case basis, with the possibility of settling more of those cases in the future.
Gallbladder injury cases add to settlement totals
In March 2013, Bayer offered a settlement agreement to plaintiffs with allegations of Yaz gallbladder injury. One year later, approximately 8,800 plaintiffs have agreed to that settlement, which meets the agreement requirements of the accord. Bayer will spend an additional $24 million to proceed with the settlement arrangements on these cases.
Bayer also states in its report that it is anticipated more Yaz lawsuits will be filed in the future. The company will continue to consider settlement for individual cases, but also vows to defend itself against lawsuits determined ineligible for settlement. Bayer asserts in the annual report that the company has “meritorious defenses” against some of these allegations.
Drospirenone raises blood clot risk
Yaz and Yasmin, the two birth controls manufactured and marketed by Bayer, contain a unique ingredient drospirenone, which is referred to as a fourth-generation progestin. This progestin has been associated with an increased risk of blood clots and other serious venous disorders, as well as gallbladder disease and injury. Studies have shown drospirenone may carry a higher incidence of these side effects than other progestins, making Yaz and Yasmin a potentially riskier choice in birth control.
Hundreds of women injured by these drugs have now filed lawsuits against Bayer, alleging the company did not provide proper warning about the risks. Some of these plaintiffs have suffered life-threatening injuries like pulmonary embolism, a condition where a blood clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs. Some women have died from their injuries and their surviving family members have filed lawsuits on their behalf.
MDL formed amid growing Yaz lawsuits
As the number of lawsuits continued to grow, multidistrict litigation was established in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. Multidistrict litigation is assigned for multiple cases involving similar allegations to prevent duplicate discovery and conflicting rulings during early trial proceedings. The number of Yaz lawsuits in the MDL currently totals more than 11,000, before recent settlement agreements are factored in.
While it appears the majority of cases currently pending against Bayer will resolve in Yaz settlements, there may be others filed in courts across the country that will not be eligible for this compensation. Those cases will continue through the litigation process, possibly being remanded from the MDL to local courts for completion.
- Bayer, Annual Report 2013, http://www.annualreport2013.bayer.com/en/legal-risks.aspx
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois, MDL No. 2100, http://www.ilsd.uscourts.gov/mdl/mdl2100.aspx
- FDA, Drug Safety Communication: Updated Information about the Risk of Blood Clots in Women Taking Birth Control Pills Containing Drospirenone, http://www.fda.gov/drugs/drugsafety/ucm299305.htm
- Chicago Tribune, Lawsuits Pile Up over Popular Birth Control Pill, http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-09-15/health/ct-met-birth-control-risks-20130915_1_drospirenone-clots-pills