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Bayer Reports $1.4 Billion in Yaz and Yasmin Settlements

Bayer Pharmaceuticals has announced that it has settled almost 6,700 lawsuits related to its Yaz and Yasmin birth control products.  In the $1.4 billion Yaz lawsuit settlement, Bayer did not accept responsibility for their products causing deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolisms, or other blood clot injuries.  Bayer has yet to reach Yaz and Yasmin settlements in more than 5,400 other cases, of which almost 2,700 have alleged similar injuries.

Bayer also announced that a Yaz lawsuit settlement has also been reached in almost 8,800 cases in which plaintiffs claim that Yaz or Yasmin produced gall bladder injuries. The use of the birth control pills has reportedly been linked to the occurrence of Yaz gall bladder disease which can lead to the removal of this organ. In this settlement, Bayer reportedly agreed to settle for payments totaling $24 million. The terms of the settlement include a $2,000 payment to patients who suffered a gallbladder injury and a $3,000 payment to those who had their gall bladders removed. The 8,800 plaintiffs which have acceded to the settlement terms exceeds the 90 percent participation threshold, allowing the settlement to proceed.

Yaz lawsuit settlement for blood clot related injuries

Initially introduced in 2006 in the United States, Yaz and Yasmin were marketed as birth control medications with effectiveness in treating premenstrual syndrome and acne.  Yaz and Yasmin act to elevate potassium levels which can produce heart arrhythmias, hyperkalemia, stroke, blood clots, embolisms, hyponatremis, and even death.  A study by the British Medical Journal in 2011 reported that Yaz and Yasmin users could double their risk of blood clots compared to alternative birth control drugs.

Bayer’s response to adverse event reports

As the manufacturer of Yaz and Yasmin, Bayer is responsible for providing adequate warnings to users of their products.  In the Yaz lawsuit settlement, many plaintiffs claimed that Bayer utilized deceptive marketing practices which exaggerated benefits and virtually ignored the serious side effects which could result.  Some of these Yaz lawsuits alleged that Bayer was negligent in not studying the potentially serious and fatal injuries that could result from Yaz or Yasmin use.  Although Bayer did modify its advertising following an FDA study which questioned the safety of Yaz and Yasmin thousands of users may have already suffered blood clots or other serious injuries.

Yaz litigation

While many of those injured by the oral contraceptives have participated in the Yaz and Yasmin settlements, many more of these lawsuits continue through the legal system. To date more than 11,000 cases related to these products have been filed.  Many of these lawsuits have been consolidated into a Yaz multidistrict litigation or MDL currently being litigated in the U.S. District Court of Southern Illinois.  Although similar to a class action lawsuit in that legal resources may be pooled, a MDL allows individual plaintiffs to retain control over their lawsuit including the ability to pursue a jury verdict or independent settlement.

Bayer is still embroiled in negotiations with more than 5,000 litigants who are seeking a different outcome.  While Bayer is attempting to reach a Yaz lawsuit settlement with each of these plaintiffs, it is expected that additional cases will be brought against the German pharmaceutical company.