A Staggering 25,000 Yaz Lawsuits PossibleJan 12, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP
Tens of thousands of lawsuits will likely be filed by young women and their families over the Yaz birth control pill,
Yaz lawsuits, as well as those involving its precursor, Yasmin, have been consolidated an multidistrict litigation in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. Judge David R. Herndon is presiding over the litigation. Judge Herndon had previously presided over a case against telephone company MCI that resulted in an $88 million settlement.
According to a report on BND.com, as many as 25,000 lawsuits could end up in the multidistrict litigation. It is likely that it could take more than two years to resolve all of the Yaz lawsuits on Judge Herndon’s docket. On Friday, Judge Herndon said he had hired a law clerk to help manage the cases. He said the clerk’s office will also hire a clerk to help with the increased caseload.
BND also reported that Judge Herndon has discussed scheduling a series of “bellwether” trials for the lawsuits. These trials will serve as a guideline for other cases,” Judge Herndon said. “There will be a variety of dynamics which will be taken into account in the evaluation of cases.”
Yaz is one of the most popular contraceptives in the U.S. In 2008, Yaz , and its precursor Yasmin, which is also named in lawsuits, generated about $1.8 billion for Bayer.
Yaz, Yasmin and a generic birth control pill called Ocella are all made with a type of progestin called drospirenone, making them different from many other oral contraceptives. Drospirenone can elevate the body’s potassium levels, which can lead to a condition called hyperkalemia in certain patients. Hyperkalemia may result in potentially serious heart and health problems. Adverse Events reported to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) involving Yaz and Yasmin include heart arrhythmias, electrolyte imbalance, hyponatremis, hyperkalemia, hyperkalemic arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation, tachycardia, bradycardia, myocardial infarction, stroke, transient ischemic attack, blood clots, embolisms, and sudden death.
The manufacturers of Yaz and Yasmin have been warned at least three times by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) over misleading television advertisements which overstated the efficiency the drugs and minimized their serious risks.