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Judge Criticizes Bayer in Yaz Birth Control Litigation

Feb 18, 2015

An Illinois federal judge overseeing the multidistrict litigation (MDL) over the alleged stroke risks of the birth control drug Yaz set a June trial date for one of the lawsuits in the litigation.

U.S. District Judge David R. Herndon selected the lawsuit of a plaintiff who joined the litigation in 2010 and set a June 15 trial date. In his order, Judge Herndon said that Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures Yaz (drosperinone), had not conducted proper analyses or negotiated in certain cases alleging the drugs cause blood clots, Law360 reports. Herndon remarked that Bayer’s strategy in the litigation amounted to "wearing everyone down over time."

Herndon said a judge presiding over an MDL "can and should be helpful to the litigation, part and parcel to the pretrial discovery by facilitating settlement, but when that settlement posture must come from wearing everyone down over time or expecting an entire group of catastrophically injured women, for the most part, to simply drop their claims, the MDL judge is not properly exercising his duties by simply standing by or dragging the pretrial proceedings out," Judge Herndon said in his order, according to Law360.

In the case selected for trial, the plaintiff claims she had a stroke after taking Yaz. Her complaint says Bayer should have known that drospirenone, the synthetic hormone in the drug, can cause heart problems, blood clots and strokes, among other things, Law360 reports.

The MDL began in 2009 and grew to contain some 12,000 suits at its peak, making it the largest MDL in the country at the time, according to Law360. In March 2013, Bayer agreed to pay $24 million to women who claimed they developed gallbladder disease or needed to have their gallbladders removed after using Yaz and Yasmin birth control pills. That settlement, however, did not resolve claims that Yaz and Yasmin caused patients to develop blood clots.

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