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Yaz Birth Control Blood Clots Take the Lives of 23 Canadians

At least 23 Canadian women have died as a result of Yaz birth control blood clots, according to a new CBC News report. Health Canada records show that the deaths were very unexpected. Miranda Scott, an 18-year-old woman, was working out on an elliptical machine at the gym when she suddenly collapsed, said “I can’t breathe,” and died.

Chip McClaughry found out that her daughter had been taking Yasmin and that the birth control pills were associated with a heightened risk of blood clots. “As soon as I heard that she had been on Yasmin, I thought, ‘I’m just going to look that up,’ and I did, and I thought: ‘Oh my God, this is what’s killed her,” said the girl’s mother.

Health Canada warns of Yaz birth control blood clots risk

Health Canada issued a warning about Yaz and Yasmin, stating that the risk of Yaz birth control blood clots was 1.5 to 3 times higher than other types of birth control pills. One in 10,000 women on the older type of birth control will develop blood clots, but three in 10,000 will develop blood clots from Yaz. From 2007 to 2013, there have been 600 adverse reactions and 23 deaths reported in Canada. The deaths were either attributed to blood clots that traveled to the lungs (pulmonary embolisms) or blood clots that traveled to the brain (cerebral thrombosis). More than half of the deaths were women under 26, with the youngest being 14, and occurred just a few months after starting the pills.

Yaz class action lawsuit gains footing in Canada

Now lawyers have mobilized to file a Yaz class action lawsuit to seek compensation for the victims’ families. To date, Bayer has paid over $1 billion to settle lawsuits by the thousands in America, but the battle is just beginning in Canada. The first class action lawsuit was certified in Ontario and another Yaz class action lawsuit has been proposed.

“There are about 30 or 40 deaths that we think are known, but that is usually just the tip of the iceberg,” said the Canadian class action lawyer. He adds that the number of deaths is often underreported because the general public is unaware of the link between Yaz or Yasmin and blood clot deaths. He is currently representing 1,000 women and says that hundreds of patients have come to him after having gallbladders removed, suffering Yaz strokes and being prescribed a lifetime of blood thinners.

Bayer stands by their Yaz birth control products

The medical causation has not been proved in Canadian courts at this point. Health Canada has been careful not to point fingers. “Other factors contributing to the (adverse reaction) could be a person’s health conditions or other health products they are using at the same time,” the organization stated. For instance, some of the women who reported adverse events were taking asthma or ADHD medication at the same time.

In a written statement, Bayer Healthcare said they stand by their products and that they intend to fight the certification of the Ontario Yaz class action lawsuit. “No decision has been made on the merits of the case,” Bayer said. “At Bayer, patient safety comes first and we stand fully behind Yaz and Yasmin.” Bayer is scheduled to appear in court on September 4, 2013.