As Bayer’s Yaz settlements continue to make headlines in recent weeks, many have wondered exactly how much the drug giant agreed to settle for. It turns out Bayer is going to shell out at least $110 million in settlements to cover 500 Yaz lawsuits which were filed over blood clots.
While 500 settlement agreements sounds like a lot, it is small when compared to the 11,000 lawsuits the company is facing over various side effects caused by the birth control pills Yaz and Yasmin. For years, Yaz, Yasmin and other drospirenone-based contraceptives have been linked to serious side effects including heart attacks, strokes, gallbladder disease and blood clots that can lead to pulmonary embolisms and deep vein thrombosis. While Bayer has refused to concede that the pills are more dangerous than older birth control pills that don’t contain drospirenone, these settlement agreements may put an end to that defense.
As far as the settlements go, the $110 million will amount to an average payout of $220,000 for each lawsuit. For its part, the FDA ordered Bayer to increase the warnings on the pills’ label to include stronger mention of blood clot risks. This is in direct reference to a recent panel advisory decision that voted to allow Yaz and Yasmin to stay on the market but recommended such wording be added to the drugs’ labels.
When it comes down to opinions about Bayer’s recent settlement agreements, Carl Tobias, professor of product liability at the University of Richmond in Virginia said [to Bloomberg Business Week], “Sounds to me like mediation is paying off. As a German company, Bayer probably would like to avoid the risks and costs of litigation in U.S. courts. Mediation tends to be a less expensive way to deal with these kinds of cases.”
At the moment, the Yaz settlements have not officially been confirmed by Bayer, says the company’s American spokesperson Rosemarie Yancosek. Still, she did state [in an email to Bloomberg,] “Bayer HealthCare confirms that some cases pending in the current Yaz/Yasmin litigation in the U.S. are being settled.”