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Yaz Lawsuit Deceptive Advertising Lawyer

Mar 5, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP

Keywords:  Yaz Lawsuit Deceptive Advertising Lawyer

The lawyers / attorneys at our firm are investigating potential claims involving the misleading advertising for the birth control pill Yaz, made by Bayer Corp.  In 2008, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued Bayer Corp. a warning letter regarding false claims made in two Yaz television commercials.  These false claims involved the ability of Yaz to treat premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and all types of acne.  

The company subsequently stopped running the ads, and later embarked on an advertising campaign that corrected the deceptive claims made in those commercials.

If you or someone you know used the Yaz birth control pill because of claims made in these misleading television commercials, you have valuable legal rights. Please contact one of our Yaz deceptive advertising lawyers as soon as possible to discuss your claim.

Yaz Deceptive Advertising
Yaz is the best-selling oral contraception pill in the U.S.,  with sales last year of about $616 million.  Yaz is a combination birth control pill that contains estrogen and progestin.  Yaz is considered a low-dose pill, in that it contains .035 milligrams or less of estrogen.

Yaz received FDA approval as an oral contraceptive in March 2006, and as a treatment for the emotional and physical symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) in October, 2006.   Finally, in January 2007, Yaz was approved to treat moderate acne in women who desire an oral contraceptive for birth control.

PMDD is a condition associated with severe emotional and physical problems that are linked closely to the menstrual cycle. Symptoms occur regularly in the second half of the cycle and end when menstruation begins or shortly thereafter. Women with PMDD find that it has a very disruptive effect on their lives.

PMDD is not the same as PMS.  While the symptoms of PMDD are similar to those of PMS, they are severe enough to interfere with work, social activities and relationships.  

To market Yaz, Bayer Corp. regularly ran two television commercials.  In one commercial,  women were heard and seen singing “We’re not gonna take it” and kicking, punching and pushing balloons with words such as “irritability,” “moodiness” and “bloating.”  Those symptoms are commonly associated with PMS.

The second Yaz TV spot featured the  song “Good Bye to You”.  Women were seen releasing balloons labeled with the same PMS-like symptoms. The commercial suggested women were saying "goodbye" to their symptoms and were now symptom-free because of Yaz.

FDA Yaz Warning Letter
In October 2008, the FDA cited the two Yaz commercials for deceptive claims.  The FDA said claims made in the ads left the impression that Yaz was a treatment for PMS, when in fact it is only meant as a treatment for PMDD.    In its letter, the FDA said there is no evidence that Yaz eliminates the PMS symptoms described by the ads.

The FDA also said that both ads left the impression  that Yaz  is approved as a treatment for acne of all severities when this is not the case.  Yaz is only approved to treat moderate acne.

Finally, The FDA criticized that the ads for containing fast-moving images and background music that might be distracting to viewers.  These elements were aired while information about potential Yaz side effects - including potentially life-threatening blood clots - was described.

Bayer quickly agreed to stop running the offending Yaz ads.  As a part of an agreement with the FDA and attorneys general in 27 states, Bayer began running a new ad campaign in February 2009 to correct information conveyed by the deceptive Yaz commercials.  The settlement also requires that Bayer submit all Yaz ads for federal screening before they appear.

The $20 million corrective ad campaign includes a TV spot that features a spokeswoman telling viewers "You may have seen some Yaz commercials recently that were not clear. The FDA wants us to correct a few points in those ads.”   The campaign also includes new print ads running in national magazines.  While the print Yaz ads provided detailed information about the drug, they do not indicate they are meant to correct earlier television ads.

While the FDA has required drug makers to pull deceptive advertising before, it is highly unusual to require companies to run corrective spots, such as the one introduced by Bayer for Yaz.  Clearly, the agency believed that popularity of the Yaz brand and the misleading ads had demanded this extraordinary remedy.

Yaz Deceptive Advertising Lawsuit
If you or someone you know used Yaz because of deceptive claims about PMS and acne made in ads for this drug, you have valuable legal rights.  Please fill out our online form, or call  1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) to discuss your case with one of our Yaz deceptive advertising lawyers.

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