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Report Claims 500 Yaz, Yasmin Blood Clot Lawsuits Settled by Bayer

Apr 13, 2012 | Parker Waichman LLP

Just days after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) ordered new information about increased blood clot risks associated with Yaz, Yasmin and other drospirenone-containing birth control pills, it's been learned that Bayer AG has settled some 500 Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits alleging the drugs caused serious, sometimes fatal clots that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.  According to Bloomberg News, the Yaz and Yasmin lawsuit settlements have not been publically announced, but were confirmed by two anonymous sources close to the litigation.

Bayer Healthcare, the Germany-based company's U.S. division, would not comment on a specific number of settlements, or their amount, but did confirm in an email to Bloomberg that "some cases pending in the current YAZ/Yasmin litigation in the U.S. are being settled."

In February, Bayer revealed in its Annual Report that it had settled somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 Yaz and Yasmin side effect lawsuits. Bayer did not reveal the terms of the settlements, nor did it admit any fault. 

Earlier this week, the FDA had announced that the labels for Yaz, Yasmin and similar birth control pills would be updated to include additional information regarding blood clots, after its review of observational studies indicated that oral contraceptives made with drospirenone might pose a higher risk of blood clots compared to those made with other forms of progestin.

Currently, thousands of lawsuits are pending against Bayer in a multidistrict litigation under way in Illinois federal court alleging that Yaz and Yasmin caused serious side effect injuries, including blood clots.  Late last year, the first trials in that litigation, which were scheduled to start in January, were postponed, and the cases were ordered to mediation.  According to Bloomberg, the mediation was ordered at the request of Bayer, and today's news indicates that the move might be paying off for the company.  One expert interviewed by Bloomberg said the company likely wants to avoid the risks and costs of litigation in U.S. courts.  Mediation is generally a less expensive route than litigation.


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