Bayer, manufacturer of oral contraceptives Yasmin and Yaz, is reportedly settling about 500 lawsuits with plaintiffs who claim the birth control pills caused dangerous blood clots. The payout? It may be to the tune of $110 million.
For a drug that brought in $1.58 billion in sales in 2010 alone, this may not seem like much of a financial strain on Yasmin profits. However, the 500 lawsuits account for less than 5% of the cases currently pending against the drug maker. If Bayer continues settling Yasmin and Yaz lawsuits at the alleged rate of the first 500, the total payout for the more than 11,000 suits currently filed would be at least $24 billion.
Although the exact payout has not been officially announced by Bayer or by plaintiffs
April 4, 2012 - Posted by Jenna Lee Dillon to Yaz
Just as Yaz and Yasmin were given the green light by the Food and Drug Administration to stay on the market, information surfaced that called into question ethics and operations of the FDA panel that determined the drugs’ fate. Four women’s advocacy groups sent a joint letter (see it here) to the FDA pointing out that members of the committee, which met in December 2011, had recent financial associations with Yaz and Yasmin manufacturer Bayer.
Committee Controls Fate of Yaz/Yasmin
In a 15-11 vote, the committee chose to allow Yaz and Yasmin to remain on the market, but to strengthen the warning labels for both life-threatening blood clots relating to these and other drospirenone-containing products. Obviously with such a substantial decision to
Bayer Healthcare, manufacturer of Yaz and Yasmin, has agreed settle 70 Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits. This is a good sign for those who have filed claims against Bayer; however it is just a small dent in the more than 11,000 pending lawsuits filed by women who have suffered significant, and sometimes fatal, injuries.
Warning Label Change Not Enough
We blogged in September about the FDA’s pending review of the fate of birth control pills containg the progestin drospirenone, including Yaz, Yasmin, Ocella and Beyaz. In December 2011, the committee narrowly voted (15-11) that the contraceptive benefits of Yaz and similar products currently outweigh the known risk of blood clots. This surely came as a shock to the vast community of women who have been harmed or
This holiday season might not be Bayer’s happiest, depending on the result of the FDA’s meeting on December 8 regarding Yaz, Yasmin and comparable birth control pills. The FDA is currently reviewing evidence to determine if Bayer’s birth control pill Yaz will be allowed to remain on the market. Attendees of the meeting will discuss the benefits and risks, specifically risks related to blood clots, of Yaz.
Yaz and its sister drug, Yasmin, entered the oral contraceptive market with a bang in 2006. Bayer, the birth control pills’ manufacturer, campaigned heavily with television ads proclaiming Yaz/Yasmin’s ability to relieve symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle such as irritability, moodiness, bloating, fatigue and headaches, etc. The ads also failed to communicate the serious risks of Yaz and Yasmin (see below). These ads later came under fire from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Bayer was asked to pull it from the air in February 2009. This reprimand from the FDA was an excellent move on behalf of the public’s safety, but the ads had already done extensive damage by spreading incorrect and exaggerated information about Yaz and Yasmin, as well as minimizing the serious risks