Bayer AG reported yesterday that it continues to settle Yaz and Yasmin birth control pill lawsuits. According to a report from Bloomberg News, the company said in its latest Stockholder Newsletter that it has settled 651 Yaz and Yasmin blood clot lawsuits for a total of $142 million. The average settlement amounts to around $218,000.
“Bayer is only settling claims in the U.S. for venous clot injuries (deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism) after a case specific analysis of medical records,” the company said in the report.
Bayer faces roughly 11,900 lawsuits filed by some 14,000 plaintiffs alleging Yaz and Yasmin caused serious side effects, including blood clots and gallbladder disease. Just two weeks ago, an analyst with JPMorgan Chase & Co. predicted Bayer would end up spending around $2.65 billion to settle Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits. According to Bloomberg, the company has said about half of the lawsuit involve blood clots. A lawyer representing plaintiffs told Bloomberg that at this point, the company does not anticipate settling any gallbladder cases.
Yaz and Yasmin Background
Yaz and Yasmin birth control pills are made with a synthetic form of progestin called drospirenone. According to Bloomberg, Yasmin was the No. 4 oral contraceptive in the U.S. in 2011, with 4.6 percent of the market as of September. Bayer’s contraceptives generated $1.58 billion in sales in 2010, making them the drugmaker’s biggest-selling drugs after Betaseron, a multiple sclerosis medication.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced that the labels for Yaz, Yasmin and other drospirenone birth control pills would be updated to provide stronger information regarding their blood clot risks. The new label information will state that that some studies reviewed by the FDA reported as high as a three-fold increase in the risk of blood clots, whereas other studies found no additional risk of blood clots with drospirenone-containing products. The modified label will also include a summary of the previously released results of an FDA-funded study of the blood clot risk. That study, released last fall, found that drospirenone-containing birth control pills were associated with a 1.5-fold increase in the risk of blood clots, compared to those made with other progestins, the FDA said.
Yaz and Yasmin Lawsuits
The majority of Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits are being overseen by Judge David Herndon in a multidistrict litigation currently underway in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. Plaintiffs in Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits allege the drugs caused a variety of dangerous side effects, including:
- Blood clots
- Deep Vein Thrombosis
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Heart Attacks
- Gallbladder problem
Late last year, the first bellwether trials, or test cases, scheduled to start in that litigation were postponed indefinitely. Judge Herndon, at the behest of Bayer, instead ordered the parties to begin settlement negotiations, and appointed a special master, George Washington law professor Stephen Saltzburg, to mediate.