The Yaz products are the only group of oral contraceptives that combine estrogen with the synthetic hormone, drospirenone. Drospirenone has been linked to serious side effects including blood clots, stroke, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis and heart attacks. A recent government-funded study showed that oral contraceptives containing drospirenone increased blood clot risks by 75 percent.1 Studies in Germany and Great Britain show the health risks from taking Yaz, Yasmin or Ocella are nearly double those of other birth control pills. Despite these findings and thousands of lawsuits, Bayer continues to market and sell these oral contraceptives, earning over $1.6 billion in sales in 2010. 2
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warning letters to Bayer in the past regarding its misleading advertising concerning Yaz, stating that Bayer overstated its efficacy and minimized the serious risks associated with the contraceptive. In January 2012, an FDA advisory panel confirmed that Yaz products contain a blood clot risk, but narrowly voted that this increased risk was acceptable to prevent pregnancy. Unfortunately 4 of the 26 panel advisers had either research or financial ties to Bayer or to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Barr Pharmaceuticals, which manufacture the generics of Yaz. 3 An expert witness report authored by former FDA Commissioner, David Kessler stated that, “Bayer violated its duties under FDA regulations and state law by selectively presenting data as to thromboembolic events, which did not adequately inform FDA, doctors or consumers of the thromboembolic risks from premarketing to the present.”4
On July 31, 2012, Bloomberg News reported that Bayer had settled nearly 2,000 lawsuits averaging $212,000 per case. According to financial analysts, Bayer could pay some $2.65 billion to settle the remaining lawsuits.5 Ennis & Ennis, P.A. continues to offer free, nationwide, confidential consultations to anyone who was injured by Yaz, Yasmin or Ocella contraceptives by calling toll free 1-800-856-6405 or by going to www.ennislaw.com and completing an online case evaluation form.
1.Naomi Gronich, Idit Lavi & Gad Rennert, Higher risk of venous thrombosis associated with drospirenone-
2. Bayer Supports Yaz and Yasmin Despite Possible Increased Blood Clot Risk, Drug Indus. Daily, Apr. 25, 2011
3. Anna Yukhananov, U.S Group Seeks Re-vote on Birth Control Clot Rist, Reuters, Jan. 12, 2012
4. In re Yasmin and Yaz Mktg., Sales Practices & Prods. Liab.Litig., MDL NO.2100 (S.S. Ill).
5. Jef Feeley & Margaret Cronin Fisk, Bayer Yasmin Lawsuit Settlements Climb to $142 Million, Bloomberg News, Apr. 26, 2012