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Yaz, Yasmin Litigation Progresses, Plaintiffs' Steering Committee Named

Nov 12, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP

There is progress to report in the Yaz and Yasmin multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2100) currently underway in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.  Judge David Herndon, who is overseeing the Yaz and Yasmin MDL, has appointed members to the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee.  One of those appointed by Judge Herndon is a partner in the law firm of Parker Waichman LLP.

The Plaintiffs' Steering Committee was appointed by Judge Herndon in an Order dated November 10, 2009. In addition Michael S. Burg, Michael London and Mark N. Niemeyer were appointed as Co-Lead Counsel to the Plaintiffs Steering Committee. Judge Herndon also appointed Roger Denton as Liaison Counsel.

The other members of the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee appointed by Judge Herndon are:
Daniel Becnel
A.J. DeBartolomeo
Thomas Girardi
Arnold Levin
Jeff Lowe
Roopal R. Luhana
Steven Maher
Trent Miracle
Mark Robinson

Appointments to the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee expire one year from the date of Judge Herndon's order. Appointees to the Committee may apply to be reappointed at that time.

The Plaintiffs' Steering Committee will, among other things, conduct and coordinate the discovery stage of this litigation with the defendants’ representatives or committee. The Committee will also act as a spokesperson for all plaintiffs at pretrial proceedings and in response to any inquiries by the Court.

More than 100 lawsuits have been filed by women across the United States who claim they suffered strokes, pulmonary emboli, deep vein thrombosis, blood clots, gallbladder disease, and other serious injuries after taking Yaz and Yasmin. Yaz and Yasmin are both made with a type of progestin called drospirenone, making them different from many other oral contraceptives. Drospirenone can elevate the body's potassium levels, which can lead to a condition called hyperkalemia in certain patients. Hyperkalemia may result in potentially serious heart and health problems. Yaz side effects reported to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) include heart arrhythmias, electrolyte imbalance, hyponatremis, hyperkalemia, hyperkalemic arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation, tachycardia, bradycardia, myocardial infarction, stroke, transient ischemic attack, blood clots, embolisms, and sudden death.

Yaz is the top-selling oral contraceptive in the U.S. Last year, Yaz and Yasmin generated about $1.8 billion for Bayer. Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits allege that these sales were achieved through a marketing campaign that presented the medications as more than mere birth control pills, and touted them as treatments for premenstrual dysphoric disorder, premenstrual syndrome and moderate acne. Bayer Corporation and the other defendants named in the complaints have been warned at least three times by the FDA over misleading television advertisements which overstate the efficiency of Yaz or Yasmin and minimize serious risks associated with the drugs. Almost in every Yaz lawsuit it is alleged that these drugs were not subjected to adequate testing, and that Bayer failed to provide adequate warnings about their potential side effects.

On October 1, 2009, all Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits pending in federal court were consolidated for centralized and coordinated pre-trial proceedings in the Yasmin and Yaz (Drospirenone) Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois before Judge Herndon (MDL No. 2100).

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