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Father Files Yasmin, Ocella Lawsuit after Daughter's Death

Jun 21, 2011 | Parker Waichman LLP

A bereaved father is suing the makers of the Yasmin and Ocella birth control pills, claiming the drugs caused the pulmonary embolism that killed his 15-year-old daughter.  The girl had been prescribed Yasmin, and later Ocella, its generic counterpart, to treat acne. 

Bayer's Yasmin, as well as Ocella, contain a type of progestin called drosperinone.  Yaz, also made by Bayer, is also a drospirenone pill.  Yaz is approved for treatment of moderate acne, but Yasmin and Ocella are not.  

In his lawsuit, Scott Prewitt, the father of Brittany Nicole Prewitt, claims that  “Bayer defendants aggressively marketed Yaz to the dermatology community, and relied in part upon data assessing the effectiveness of Yasmin upon acne, thus persuading the dermatology community that both Yasmin and Yaz were safe and effective in the treatment of acne," the complaint states. It continues: "Yasmin never received approval for treatment of acne."

The lawsuit further claims that Bayer's advertising for Yasmin downplayed its risks and overstated its benefits.  According to the lawsuit, "Bayer defendants have been warned multiple times by the FDA for misleading the public through use of television advertisements which overstate the efficiency of Yasmin and Yaz and minimize serious risks associated with the drug."

Mr. Prewitt is suing Bayer, Barr Laboratories, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Intendis for wrongful death and product liability.  The lawsuit also accuses Brittany Nicole's pediatricians and the Asheville Children's Medical Center for failing to properly diagnose signs of the blood clot that took her life in June 2009.

Recently, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced it was monitoring the safety of drospirenone contraceptives after two studies published in the British Medical Journal found such drugs increased the risk of blood clots compared to birth control pills made with another type of progestin.

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