The famous first of the Yaz bellwether trials was postponed by the presiding judge, David R. Herndon, on December 31, 2011.

According to information from a report that was posted by FiercePharma, Herndon ordered the postponement so that the lawsuits can go into mediation. While the first of the bellwether test trials was supposed to begin next week, the postponement order came down on December 31. Herndon chose Stephen Saltzburg to be the mediator. Saltzburg is a law professor at George Washington; Herndon asked him to see if he could get both sides of the litigation to agree to “settlements in this litigation.”

Currently, there are more than 10,000 lawsuits filed over the serious adverse side effects that have been linked to Yaz, Yasmin and other drospirenone-based birth control pills. A variety of side effects have been linked to Yaz, including blood clots, gallbladder disease, heart attacks, strokes and pulmonary embolisms. Yaz blood clots have been the subject of a good deal of controversy, since countless research studies have consistently shown the pills to cause women to be 75 percent more likely to develop blood clots after taking Yaz vs. any other oral contraceptive.

It was only last month that an FDA advisory panel decided that Yaz labels had to be updated to include stricter warnings against Yaz blood clots. The panel’s recommendation left a sour taste in many experts’ mouths, since many of them wanted Yaz to be recalled from the market altogether. Until the pills are recalled, consumers will continue to suffer from illnesses and death. As the plaintiffs, lawyers and defendants await the onset of the bellwether trials, it remains to be seen whether this postponement will affect the other bellwether trials that were slated for later this year.