On May 10, 2012, California resident Tonia Brumley filed a Yaz lawsuit against Bayer, the makers of the controversial oral contraceptive. The lawsuit, which was filed in California state court, is alleging that Bayer failed to properly warn patients of the serious and potentially life-threatening side effects linked to the drug.
Brumley’s lawsuit consists of 10 counts and was filed after she developed deep vein thrombosis after taking Yaz. Deep vein thrombosis is a potentially life-threatening condition that is caused by a blood clot that develops in the patient’s leg. At the moment, it is likely that Brumley’s case is going to be consolidated with thousands of others just like it since many of these lawsuits have already been centralized in a Judicial Council Coordinated Proceeding (JCCP). Judge Elihu Berle will likely be presiding. She is currently the presiding judge in the Superior Court of the State of California in Los Angeles County.
Deep vein thrombosis is only one of the many side effects that have been linked to Yaz, Yasmin and other drospirenone-based birth control pills. Other side effects linked to Yaz and drospirenone include heart attacks, strokes, gallbladder disease and blood clots that can lead to DVT and pulmonary embolisms. Drospirenone, the main active ingredient in Yaz, is a synthetic progestin.
Thousands of women just like Brumley have filed lawsuits against Bayer over the side effects, but the company stubbornly continued to claim that drospirenone-based pills were no more dangerous than other non drospirenone-based pills. However, the company has recently agreed to settle as many as 500 lawsuits for a total of $110 million ($220,000 per plaintiff). Perhaps Bayer officials have finally realized that they can’t ignore the dangers linked to their pills and sought to minimize the payout by offering such a paltry per plaintiff amount in the 500 cases. Whatever the company’s reasons for agreeing to the settlement, it certainly bodes well for the thousands of other plaintiffs like Brumley.