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Illinois MDL Yaz Lawsuits Postponed for Mediation for Third Time

Once again, Chief Judge David R. Herndon, the judge overseeing the Yaz MDL in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District Illinois, has pushed back pretrial deadlines, thus postponing the start of bellwether trials, in an attempt to get the parties to reach a settlement through mediation. It’s the third time this year that Chief Judge Herndon has postponed the trials for mediation.

Chief Judge Herndon issued the order for the deadlines to be extended by 90 days on April 19, 2012. The extension means that the bellwether trials (which were originally scheduled for January 2012) will not begin until at least September. The plaintiffs claim to have experienced blood clots which can cause pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis as a result of Yaz. Some women have died from these life-threatening conditions.

Bellwether cases are an initial small number of lawsuits in the MDL which are used as representative cases to allow both parties to get an idea of how juries will react to evidence that is used in most or all of the MDL cases. This information can then be used by both parties to negotiate future settlements over claims of injuries such as blood clots as a result of Yaz – follow the link for additional information.

Lawsuits claim side effects including pulmonary embolism from Yaz

It is estimated that to date there have been approximately 11,500 lawsuits filed against Bayer by women who say they have suffered side effects such as blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, or pulmonary embolism.

In February, corporate disclosure documents showed that Bayer had reached settlements with approximately 70 plaintiffs. News media have reported that the company has also set aside $110 million for settlements in another 500 cases. Chief Judge Herndon’s decision to postpone trials in favor of mediation would facilitate such settlements being reached, eliminating the need for trials in those cases.

Despite known risk of blood clots from Yaz, FDA voted to keep contraceptive on the market

The FDA recently voted in favor of keeping Yaz and Yasmin on the market, despite the fact that an FDA-commissioned study of 835,000 women found that those who use contraceptives containing drospirenone (the active ingredient in Yaz and Yasmin) have twice the risk of blood clots as those using other birth control pills. Four women’s groups sent a joint letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg disagreeing with the decision and expressing concern that it would put women’s health in danger.

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