Bayer Puts Aside $1.5BN for Future Yaz, Yasmin ClaimsMar 5, 2013
Bayer has set aside another $1.5 billion to cover legal expenses related to its dangerous contraceptive drugs Yaz and Yasmin.
According to a Reuters report this week, the pharmaceutical giant noted in its annual report that the additional reserve is likely to impact the company’s bottom line in the coming year and that it has already paid about $1 billion to settle other lawsuits claiming that its popular and heavily-marketed contraceptive drugs caused women to suffer deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
Bayer and people who made these claims were forced by a federal judge overseeing thousands of lawsuit which make these and other claims to sit down with a mediator in 2011 to potentially avoid trials and reach a settlement over their claims. To date, the process has worked for both sides in avoiding trials and about 4,800 lawsuits have been settled, costing the company $1 billion already.
The pharmaceutical company said it believes the additional reserve of $1.5 billion to cover the legal expenses it expects to incur as a result of defending itself against these and future claims. There are more than 10,000 lawsuits filed in U.S. courts and Bayer is facing more than a dozen class-action lawsuits in Canada that all claim that taking Yaz or Yasmin caused women to suffer deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Some of these cases have been fatal.
This is not the extent of the legal trouble facing Bayer related to its sale of Yaz and Yasmin. The company is also under federal investigation for possibly promoting the drug for off-label, unapproved treatments. It’s not illegal for a doctor to prescribe a drug for an off-label purpose but it is so for a company to promote it for those treatments.
Bayer has been criticized and forced to invest $10 million in revamping its marketing campaign for Yaz and Yasmin after regulators found ads on the Web that failed to mention any side effects of the drugs and its other advertisements minimized the risks associated with them. It was not until April of last year that the FDA finally ordered Bayer to update the safety labels of Yaz and Yasmin to indicate that they could cause blood clots in the women that take them.
A recent report from Switzerland suggested that as many as 200 women have died as a result of the side effects caused by taking Yaz or Yasmin.