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Bayer Pays Out More than $1 Billion in Yaz Settlements in 2012

YAZ cashBayer’s annual revenue report reveals that in 2012, the company reached settlements in approximately 4,800 Yaz side effects lawsuits and paid out more than $1 billion in settlements (a total of more than $1.5 billion when all litigation expenses are included).

Thousands more Yaz lawsuits still pending

Although these settlements put thousands of lawsuits to rest, the company still faces many more Yaz lawsuits from plaintiffs alleging side effects including blood clots, pulmonary embolism, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, and gallbladder disease. The report states that as of February 12, 2013, there were approximately 10,000 Yaz lawsuits pending in the United States, and another 1,200 claims were pending but had not been filed in court yet. The number of plaintiffs with pending cases totals approximately 13,600. (This number does not include plaintiffs whose cases have been settled.)

Plaintiffs who file a Yaz lawsuit allege that Bayer knew or should have known of the contraceptive’s risks, but failed to adequately warn doctors of patients. They seek to recover financial compensation for their pain and suffering and medical expenses. In some cases, family members have sued after a loved one died of complications from Yaz.


On October 1, 2009, all federal Yaz lawsuits were consolidated in a multidistrict litigation in the Southern District of Illinois. The Yaz MDL has now become the largest MDL in the U.S., surpassing the number of lawsuits in the asbestos MDL.

At first, the Yaz MDL was working toward scheduling bellwether trials, but then the judge issued a stay of bellwethers and ordered the parties to mediation instead. The mediation process has led to these lawsuit settlements, but only for cases involving blood clots and related complications like pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis, not cases involving gallbladder disease.

Bayer’s report states that “Bayer is only settling claims in the U.S. for venous clot injuries (deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism) after a case-specific analysis of medical records on a rolling basis. Such injuries are alleged by about 3,200 of pending unsettled claimants. Bayer will consider the option of settling individual lawsuits in the U.S. on a case-by-case basis.” However, the report states, the company will also  “defend itself vigorously against all claims that are not considered for settlement.”

In addition to the MDL, there are also hundreds of Yaz lawsuits centralized in U.S. state courts, including cases in New Jersey, California, and Pennsylvania. There are also 13 class action lawsuits pending against Bayer in Canada.

Complications from Yaz and other drospirenone-containing contraceptives

Yaz, its predecessor Yasmin, and the generic version Ocella are all contraceptives that contain the synthetic progestin drospirenone, which has been found to cause blood clots. In April 2012, the FDA ordered the warning on these contraceptives to be strengthened to include a warning for blood clots. A blood clot in the brain can cause a stroke; a blood clot in the lungs can cause a pulmonary embolism; and a blood clot in the leg can cause deep vein thrombosis. In addition, some plaintiffs allege that Yaz, Yasmin, or Ocella caused them to develop gallbladder disease.